Pixel's special move
Some have been wondering why the Pixel has such high specs (for a chromebook). It could be cheaper and run almost as well with lower specs. You might suggest it needs the higher specs because of whatever Google are planning to do with the OS next. But I would refute this by saying that any change in OS that required such higher specs would cause a serious problem with the run-of-the-mill low-spec chromebooks already out there. Google shouldn't do anything that would be problematic for those who have already taken a chance with their little baby OS.
Conversely to expectations, I would suggest that the Pixel has high specs so it can justify the high price.
Sounds odd? Let me explain.
iOS apps make more money for Apple and developers than Android apps. Similarly, although OSX apps have a higher average price paid per app than Windows 8 apps, despite the massive growth of Windows 8 apps. In the same way, the premium hardware consistent across Apple products usually costs more than average (and comparative) OEM hardware.
My point is, if customers pay a premium for their hardware, they are more likely to pay a premium for the software. Money attracts developers. So if there is a chance that people would buy the Pixel, there is a chance those people would pay more for software for it. This would attract more developers.
If developers develop better apps for Pixel, they will also be developing better apps for every other chromebook and the chrome browser. That means Google's chrome ecosystem gets better; which means more take up; which means more money; which means more developers; which means better ecosystem; which means more take up etc. etc.. It becomes a virtuous circle. And Google skims off the data all the way.
Pixel could be a catalyst in getting this virtuous circle up and running.
It's not about the specs - it's about the price. That's the Pixel's special move.