Before we dig into the details of our latest finding I have to take a moment to make a correction from a previous article and admit a mistake on my part. All the way back in December, I had reported that the upcoming Chromebook ‘Snappy’ was most definitely a new Lenovo Yoga device. Developed beside another device, ‘Pyro’, both Chromebooks shared Lenovo’s Yoga sensors. I put two and two together and deduced that they both would surely wear the Lenovo name.
I was wrong.
We do know that ‘Pyro’ is, in fact, the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga G4 and its educational counterpart, the Chromebook 11e. After a bit of poking around, we have discovered that ‘Snappy’ is actually the newest device from Hewlett Packard. The x360 Chromebook 11 G1 is HP’s first Apollo Lake device and is aimed at students with its rugged design and convertible form factor.
This week we have come across a commit adding keyboard backlighting to the ‘Snappy’ device. I was a bit intrigued by the addition as the x360 is an EDU device. Backlit keyboards are definitely not something you would see much of in this segment. Not to mention the fact that HP already has the x360 listed on their site with EIGHT model variants and none of them are listed with a backlit keyboard.
Then it hit me that a consumer model of the HP x360 would greatly benefit from this update. HP, like other OEMs, will use the same base for multiple products. The HP Chromebook 13, 14 and 14EE (educational edition) are all built on the same chipset, board, and chassis. Nothing mind-blowing here but it does give us a good indicator that we can expect to see a consumer model of the x360 Chromebook or some variant in the near future.
Convertibles are the hot ticket right now. With Android Apps, the convenience of portability and multiple form-factors it only makes sense that keyboard backlighting becomes a more widespread feature. Users want this feature. We’ve heard it a thousand times. It was a big turn-off for many on the Samsung Pro and Plus and is what drew a lot of buyers to the ASUS Chromebook C302. Daily drivers should have this feature and to see it come to more mid-range Chromebooks is a huge step for the market.