For those of you disappointed to find out that the $1449 64GB LTE Chromebook Pixel doesn’t fall back on 3G, and only supports Verizon’s own flavor of LTE, there is hope. It appears that the Pixel uses a wireless card that is capable of falling back onto CDMA and HSPA+/UMTS frequencies worldwide, and it is also capable of connecting to GPS satellites.
This can be confirmed simply looking at the output from lsusb in chrome://system. Comparing the USB ID (1410:9010) to this database, we find that the wireless card is a Novatel Expedite E362. And according to the manufacturer of this wireless card,
Powered by Qualcomm® MDM9600 chipset, the Expedite E362 offers high performance to the user on LTE 700 MHz with global fallback to CDMA and HSPA+/UMTS … the small Expedite E362 module leverages the LTE, CDMA, and HSPA+/UMTS networks. Switching between networks enables your customers to work, play, and stay connected anytime, anywhere worldwide.
Additionally, the card “[a]llows you to retrieve location data from GPS satellites and utilize GPS navigation and location-based applications.”
What this means is that, theoretically, it should be possible to use the Chromebook Pixel on Sprint’s CDMA network, and AT&T and T-Mobile’s HSPA+ networks here in the US. Additionally, it should be possible to use this on most other HSPA+/UMTS networks around the world – and GPS functionality might also be possible.
It’s unlikely that the included Verizon SIM cards would ever allow this kind usage, but with the right combination of developer talent and compatible SIM cards, the Chromebook Pixel very well might become a true international, constantly-connected notebook.
[Google+] Thanks, Ian!