They didn't make this thing because they thought they'd sell millions of $1300 Chromebooks. They did it because they knew it would blow up the internet (figuratively speaking, of course). I've been hearing about the $1300 Chromebook since I got out of bed this morning. That's what this is about - getting everyone talking about Chromebooks. The Pixel is the attention getter so that people will notice the cheaper ones.
And from what I can tell, it's working.