If you’ve used any number of Chromebooks that convert or detach to acheive tablet mode, you have undoubtedly tried at some point in time to adjust the volume on your device while listening to some sort of media. Likely you cued up a YouTube video and were shocked at the volume and quickly reached for the volume rocker to adjust the noise.
Surprise, surprise, the volume rocker on your Chrome OS device stays in the same orientation regardless of how you are holding it, so good luck guessing which way is up and which way is down. For me, espcecially with convertibles, this issue is insanely frustrating. Which way is the right way to hold your converted tablet, after all? For me it is hinge-side down. For developers, apparently, that is not right at all.
Right now, if I flip this Pixelbook around into tablet mode, the assumption from the developers is that I’m holding the device hinge-side up. Though I stare at the screen in most scenarios with the hinge side on the bottom, the opposite is the expected behavior. I’ve learned my lesson over the years and simply become semi-compliant and just forced myself to remember that when I’m in tablet mode, the volume rocker is upside down.
I remember posting in a bug report years ago that this was silly and that the volume buttons should simply follow the orientation of the device. The responses from the developers assigned to that bug were a bit curt and quite clear that this was the intention for Chromebooks and if it was confusing which was volume up and which was down, just hit the button and make the adjustment if you chose wrong.
I’m dead serious. This was the accepted answer.
Luckily, all this is changing and moving forward, volume rockers on the sides of devices like the Pixelbook, Pixel Slate and other convertible/detachable devices will simply follow the orientation of the device at any given time. According to this commit in the Chromium Repositories unearthed by About Chromebooks, it is quite clear this issue is finally being addressed properly. As a matter of fact, if you follow the link to the bug in the commit, you can see that the change has been marked as completed, so we’ll likely see this in Chrome OS 76 if everything holds well.
It is a small change, but like the power button behavior in tablet mode on the Pixelbook that early-on acted just like it does in clamshell mode (this was marked as a bug that was there on purpose, and was slated not to be addressed), it is awesome to see the Chrome OS devs making decisions based on what is best for (and expected by) the general users.