For as long as I’ve been a Chromebook fan, I’ve waited for Dell to make an XPS Chromebook. For Dell, XPS is the top-of-the-line laptop and all their best, newest, most innovative ideas get funneled into this line each year. One the first XPS innovations I remember drooling over was the XPS 13’s tiny bezels in the 2015 version of their always-popular Windows-based laptop. At the time, no one else had trimmed the bezels around the screen down to such small size, and it was mesmerizing to look at. In the years that have followed, many have copied that first all-screen take on the laptop and it has become an expectation in all higher-end laptops at this point.
I point this out simply to highlight the importance of Dell’s XPS line not just for Dell’s own bottom line, but for the laptop industry as a whole. Their attention to detail, inclusion of unique build materials (think carbon fiber), and now an all-out rethink of the modern laptop with the latest XPS 13 Plus makes me deeply desire an XPS-branded Chromebook at some point. Early on I knew that idea was a pipe dream, but with devices like the HP Elite Dragonfly on the way, it seems that laptop makers might finally be ready to slap Chrome OS on their latest, greatest hardware.
‘Banshee’ could be the XPS Chromebook
I have to point out right up front that all my leanings and hunches here are circumstantial. I don’t have a lot of hard evidence and I only have a few facts to go on at this point, but I still feel confident that this new ‘Banshee’ Chromebook has the potential to be an XPS from Dell.
First up, I’d point you to the email on this initial commit. There are only a handful of commits at this point as ‘Banshee’ just began development a couple days ago. That same email is on all 4 commits at this point for ‘Banshee’ and that email address – belonging to Ivy Jian – is associated with a handful of other Chromebooks in the Chromium Gerrit. And all those Chromebooks are made by Dell. So, it doesn’t take much to put the pieces together that ‘Banshee’ will be a Dell-made Chromebook.
Second, we have the fact that this will be a ‘Brya’-based Chromebook, so that means 12th-gen Intel Alder Lake processors. That means power and high-end parts, and for Dell, that usually means XPS. Granted, they could go with another Inspiron, but they left that lineup behind after their last 8th-gen Intel version. While an Inspiron is technically possible, I just don’t see Dell messing with another one at this point since they seem to have abandoned that brand in Chromebooks for the last 4 years.
Finally, we have the fact that we are already tracking two co-developed devices (‘Gimble’ and ‘Primus’) that look to be in the similar vein as other enterprise Latitude Chromebooks from years past. With two boards being worked on simultaneously that are both clearly made by Dell, it lines up that these two will likely end up as Dell’s high-end enterprise Chromebooks for 2022. This means we have a potential 3rd device on the way with high-end internals that could easily slot itself as something in the XPS lineup for the first time in a Chromebook.
Apart from that, we don’t have any concrete evidence yet. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this one, however, because if it ends up being something similar to the wildly-new XPS 13 Plus that was unveiled at CES 2022, we should begin seeing reference to a haptic trackpad and perhaps some capacitive function row keys. I have no idea if Dell would grace the Chromebook community with a Chrome OS version of this crazy-looking new laptop, but I’m hopeful. Chromebooks are gaining ground fast and it seems more and more companies are ready to put their best hardware foot forward in their latest Chrome OS devices. Here’s hoping Dell is willing to do the same.