While I’ve recently changed my everyday carry to a non-Google Chromebook (the Acer Spin 713) for the first time in years, it should go without saying that I am a massive fan of Google’s design when it comes to Chromebooks. From the original Chromebook Pixel and it’s 2015 follow-up, to the Pixelbook, Pixel Slate and Pixelbook Go, I’ve loved the craftsmanship and attention to detail that Google has put into each one of its in-house Chromebooks.
As we are now just a couple months away from what would be Google’s annual hardware event (generally held in the first half of October), the lack of leaks or clear information about a new Google-made Chromebook have us feeling pretty doubtful about the possibility of a new Pixelbook for 2020. We don’t have a firm lead on this, but by this point over the past 3 years we’ve already had leaks and some pretty credible evidence that a new Google Chromebook would be coming soon. This year, we have none of that. However, I think there’s still a move Google could be making that wouldn’t force them to show their hand too much and still allow for a new Chromebook for this calendar year.
An updated Pixelbook Go
For 2020, amidst all the mess of the pandemic, I think Google’s best move would be a simple spec bump of the Pixelbook Go. Think about it for a second. If you’ve ever picked up the Pixelbook Go and used it, you understand the attraction the device has. Smooth lines, firm chassis, solid screen, arguably the best keyboard available, great trackpad, and legendary speakers. The screen is good (not great, but perfectly fine) and the weight, hinge, and thinness are just about perfect.
The only thing I think anyone would love to see in the Pixelbook Go would be a bit of bumped-up internals. Replace the board with a 10th-gen Comet Lake setup (one of the Y-series variety would be great) and then give users the option to spec down to the Pentium Gold as well to hit that even-more-affordable price point. We’ve tested a few devices with this processor and it is a battery champ with solid performance. Google could literally be using any of the number of ‘Hatch’ devices we are still tracking to do this very thing right now under our noses. Since all the work is basically already in place for the speakers, screen, keyboard, and mouse already, none of that would need to be addressed and whatever board this may be could be getting development work without anyone being the wiser.
If Google isn’t doing this, I’d like to cast the first vote and say they should be. We don’t need a fancy new form factor or a wild stab at a new concept. We just want a Pixelbook Go with all the great updates that come with the 10th-gen Intel chips like Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. With just that change, Google could make the case for a refreshed 2020 Pixelbook Go and not have to spend any additional time working on any other parts of the device.
I still work from the Pixelbook Go from time to time and each time I pick one up, I remember why it is I love Google’s hardware. At $649, however, the entry-level version is less relevant than its ever been. For $20 less, I can grab the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 that beats the Pixelbook Go in nearly every way at this point: better screen, better processor, more/faster storage, pen input and a convertible form factor. With an updated internal spec, however, the Pixelbook Go would still stand its ground because of the look, feel, and aesthetic that it seems only Google can bring to the table in the Chromebook landscape. It’s completely unclear whether or not they will at this juncture, but we’re certainly hoping they do.