If you’ve kept up with CES at all over the years, you likely know that the selection of hardware to look at and play with is vast and oftentimes overwhelming. From televisions to laptops to phones to cars, there is enough tech at CES each year (sans the COVID years) to make your head spin. As we travel to the show each year to hunt down the best new ChromeOS-related announcements, our time is limited to those devices for the most part.
Between meetings, filming (lots of CES 2023 content is on the way), and covering different ChromeOS announcements, we do try to take in a bit of other, non-Chromebook tech when we can. And as our output this week will largely be about CES 2023 and the slew of Chromebooks announced there, I thought it would be a fun time to point out a few of the cool things I saw that weren’t exactly in our wheelhouse. Here goes.
Lenovo Tab Extreme
Ignoring the slightly-cringe-inducing name, the Lenovo Tab Extreme is absolutely a device I’d love to see ChromeOS on at some point. If you’ve messed with a 12.9-inch iPad Pro, you can quickly imagine what this device is like to see and hold. It is wildly thin, sturdy, and gorgeous. With a 16:10 14.5-inch OLED 3K display, an iPad-like keyboard case, magnetic-attaching pen and kickstand, this tablet feels and looks absolutely amazing. And you get the powerful MediaTek Dimensity 9000 inside with all the accessories for $1200, too.
While Android is getting better in the desktop environment, it is still not great. Clicking around on the tablet a bit, I was quickly reminded that many people would be remiss trying to get a day’s work done on any Android tablet: beautiful or not. Slap ChromeOS on this thing, and it would be a stunning workhorse, capable of real work and consumption at the same time. Still, it is a gorgeous tablet that only helps provide better hardware to entice developers to make better large-screen apps for. And for that, I’m excited about it.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i (dual screen foldable)
This device is yet another that I’m drooling over when I think of the possibility of ChromeOS running on it. While perhaps not absolutely the most practical device I’ve ever seen, I love the bold design and the possibilities of a laptop like this one.
What struck me as most useful is the ability to open the device fully and use it with both screens stacked one on top of the other using their included, folding stand. While you’d certainly draw some odd looks with this sort of setup in a coffee shop or even in your office, I use a stacked setup at my desk on a daily basis and having it on the go would be pretty sweet. While mine is a Chromebook on the desk with a larger monitor looming over the top, this Yoga Book would still do the trick.
With the option of a virtual keyboard on the bottom half or the magnetic keyboard that snaps into place when needed for more-standard clamshell laptop action, this dual-screen laptop could be both productive and great for consumption at the same time. While I don’t know how annoying it would be on a daily basis to set up your laptop every single time you need to knock out an email, I applaud Lenovo for trying something a bit different and look forward to the day when ChromeOS gets a chance to shine on hardware this experimental.
ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 3D OLED (glasses-free 3D)
Ridiculous naming aside, the ASUS ProArt Studiobook Pro 16 3D OLED (yes, that is the actual name) is something to behold. I don’t have a clue what it has under the hood, I didn’t test how good the keyboard or trackpad are, and I didn’t even pick it up off the shelf to see how big the entire device is. All I messed with was the glasses-free 3D, and it was mesmerizing.
I’ve always detested the poor attempts at 3D content over the years, with or without glasses. There’s always been a drawback with each method and I’ve never been fully immersed in a 3rd dimension when watching at a theater or on a device at home. But with the ASUS Studiobook Pro, I’m of a different mind.
Standing in front of this laptop, 3D content springs to life in a way I’ve never experienced outside of VR headsets. Looking at a screen on a table, you don’t expect images and objects to fly out from the screen with this much clarity from a simple parallax display. But the combination of eye tracking, high-resolution, and OLED make things look absolutely amazing, crisp, and impossibly 3D.
Granted, the stuff I was consuming was made for showing off what this laptop is capable of, but I was still blown away. I have no idea if there is a concrete, real-world application for this kind of tech, but it was amazing to see in person either way. Objects can protrude from the screen impossibly far without becoming blurry or out of focus and the effect is otherworldly. I was looking at a T-Rex model that looked as if it was reaching out 6-7 inches from the screen and my eyes were able to easily keep it in focus. This is truly remarkable tech to behold.
For all of these devices, I’m not really sure there is a solid consumer base for them, but they are great examples of emerging tech that are the reason for shows like CES. While the array of Chromebooks released at the show gets us very excited, wild tech like we see in the devices above causes us to imagine a bit and dream of what the future of computing could look like. While I’m not sure it will be huge tablets, dual-screen laptops, or glasses-free 3D, you never quite know what will stick. And you never know which parts may make their ways to a Chromebook near you, either.