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Google unveils 13in Chromebook Pixel featuring Retina-beating 239ppi display

Google has unveiled a touch-based version of its Chromebook, dubbed the Pixel.

The new, web-centric laptop is available for pre-order now via Google Play and will also shortly become available at select PC World stores. The 32GB Wi-Fi version will set you back £1,049 and starts shipping in "less than one week," while a 64GB 4G LTE version has also been tipped for future release in April.

The Pixel boasts a 12.85in, 2,560 x 1,700 display, and lives up to its name, carrying the highest pixel density of any laptop screen on the market - 239ppi, Google said. The new 13in Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display has 227 ppi.

"Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles," said Linus Upson, vice president of engineering at Google, in a blog post.

"With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it — so we added touch for a more immersive experience. Touch makes it simple and intuitive to do things like organise tabs, swipe through apps and edit photos with the tip of your finger."

The Pixel is crafted from an anodised aluminum alloy for a "smooth and durable surface." Google has hidden away the vents and screws and tucked the stereo speakers behind the backlit keyboard. There's a touchpad made from etched glass - made with a laser microscope for extra precision, Upson said.

"The Pixel also has powerful, full-range speakers for crisp sound, a 720p webcam for clear video, and a total of three microphones designed to cancel out surrounding noise," he added.

The laptop runs a dual-core, 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics card. There's 4GB of RAM and a 32GB or 64GB solid state drive, depending on whether you opt to wait for the future model. Google promised up to five hours of active use battery life.

The Pixel has a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a mini display port, and a 2-in-1 card reader that supports SD and MMC. There's support for Bluetooth 3.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n 2x2.

Those who buy a Pixel will get 1TB of Google Drive cloud storage for three years, plus 12 free sessions of GoGo Inflight Internet.

Google did not mention who is producing the Chromebook Pixel; in the past, the company has teamed up with Samsung, Acer, Lenovo, and HP for its Chromebooks.