Just this week, a new initiative from Google for consumer-focused Chromebooks began to take shape with ‘Chromebook X’. If you haven’t read about that, I’d recommend checking our earlier post about it, but we can go in for a quick rundown before talking about the latest evolution in the ‘Chromebook X’ story.
There’s so much to talk about with ‘Chromebook X’ that we spent our entire podcast on it this week, but if I had to give a quick synopsis, I think the best way to explain it is this: Google taking back the control a bit when it comes to the quality, speed, and experience of partner-built Chromebooks you see in stores like Best Buy.
With hardware guidlines in place, ‘Chromebook X’ designated devices will have to have the right specs to be in the conversation, but also will likely need to meet build quality standards as well. We’ve long talked about Google’s attention to detail with their own, in-house devices; but there have also been non-Google-made Chromebooks that have possessed this X-factor as well over the years.
Those devices didn’t just happen and almost always involved Google in the development process at one point or another. ‘Chromebook X’ could give Google the ability to provide that sort of deeper oversight to partner-made Chromebooks on a broader scale once it does release.
Welcome to Chromebook Plus
But the name ‘Chromebook X’ just doesn’t seem marketable, does it? At least in our internal conversations it doesn’t, anyway. Since the first findings of ‘Chromebook X’, I’ve been saying that it was a placeholder for whatever Google is actually planning. And last night, our own Gabriel Brangers found exactly what that naming scheme is set to become.
According to a few commits that just showed up late last night, it looks like ‘Chromebook X’ certified devices will fall under the new Chromebook Plus category. Any you, like me, might be thinking that Google’s already used that terminology. And you’d be correct, but if you go check out the official Chromebook page, you’ll see that the ‘Plus’ and ‘Premium’ categories are now gone. And it seems all of this new effort will be consolidated around Chromebook Plus.
These latest commits seem to be aimed at devices that will be “soft branded” as Chromebook Plus and these pop-up messages may or may not show up for future buyers that pick up a new Chromebook Plus branded Chromebook. For what it’s worth, I think a quick notification for even those who know they are buying a Chromebook Plus would be a nice touch during the initial setup phases.
And from the looks of what we’ve found, this quick notification is set to lead users to a landing page on the web that explains exactly what Chromebook Plus means. And when the update does show up and this entire initiative is released, the handful of devices that already meet the new Chromebook Plus requirements Google has set up will get this message for their users to see, understand, and start using the software perks that will be a part of this updated experience.
For now, that’s all we know. I’m sure more hardware requirements and more software perks will be on the way, but we’ve yet to find them. As an overall initiative, this Chromebook Plus move by Google is a big deal and one that could have some lasting ramifications on the Chromebook market as a whole. If it is made absolutely clear to Chromebook users and potential buyers, marketed well, and handled properly, I think Chrombook Plus could be a big change for the better.