If the Chromebook we affectionately know as ‘Eve’ were to be announced tomorrow, it would effectively be the most cutting-edge, progressive Chrome OS device we have ever seen. The Kaby Lake convertible will house features and hardware that will set a new bar for high-end Chromebooks of the future.
That bar will be very high.
The crazy part? The more we learn about ‘Eve’, the more mysterious this new device becomes. Who’s making it? What will it cost? When will it be released?
I will touch on all of these momentarily. But first, I’d like to take a minute to dive a bit deeper down the rabbit hole and let my imagination run wide open.
Care to join me?
From Robby’s previous article, we see the addition of a Pixel-esque double-tap function that will interact with the LEDs on the device. Interesting yes but nothing new. We also know, according to this commit, Wake on Voice functions have been added to ‘Eve’.
Again, this isn’t anything revolutionary. Support for the Wake on Voice feature was added to Chrome OS last fall. While we have yet to see it in the wild, the Samsung Chromebook Pro already possesses the necessary tools to be actively listening for a “hot word.”
Even the baseboard ‘Gru’, that powers the Samsung Chromebook Plus and other upcoming RockChip Chromebooks, has prepared for this function. It’s merely a matter of time before we see this feature in action.
Then there’s the Google Assistant. We have known for months that the smart-assistant was making its way into the world of Chromebooks. Now, in a major update in the works, we are actually seeing the implementation of the Assistant having a dedicated hardware button.
I know, I probably haven’t told you anything you haven’t already read here and across the web. Perhaps you have even arrived at the same hypothesis I am about to share. If not, stay with me just a bit longer. We will arrive. I promise.
The three features above are great, but apart from each other, they are just features we will come to expect (or may already have) on various devices in our lives. I would propose that we may be looking at an instance where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Let’s combine these features:
- Wake on Voice (always listening, waiting for the “hot word”)
- Google Assistant (not just the Assistant you find on your phone but one that is almost constantly connected to your home or office network)
- Multiple LEDs (various patterns based on what function is being performed)
Yeah, that little guy. The Google Home smart-speaker. You may have gathered from the image at the beginning of the article that was where we were going.
Think about it, though.
Is it really a far cry to think a Chromebook could deliver the same functionality of the Google Home? We know the Google Home, to some degree, is a Chrome OS device. With the Google Assistant in tow and a constant network connection, what would stop ‘Eve’ or any other Chromebook from serving the same purpose?
The “Chromebook” pictured at the opening of this article is obviously a product of our imagination, but the signs and the support are both there for this to become a reality. Plus, if ‘Eve’ really is #madebygoogle, something along these lines would fit the mold of Google’s new hardware initiative.
The Chromebook Pixel was Google’s way to open doors for the emerging OS. The purpose behind the flagship devices from Mountain View was always to be the pinnacle of what a Chrome OS device could be. Sales were never really a concern for Google, in my opinion.
Fast forward to 2017 and maybe, just maybe, the Chromebook called ‘Eve’ is something very similar to the Pixels of the past but different at the same time. Yes, Google has put great effort and resources into expanding their presence in the hardware arena, but to what end?
Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
In the late 90’s, this was the mission that was set forth by Google’s founders. While the methods for gathering and delivering information has evolved, one fact remains: knowledge is power.
In the business world, that power is revenue. Google reporter just over 90 billion dollars in revenue in 2016. Almost 79.4 billion of that was directly from advertising income. Targeted, profitable advertising requires good data and good data comes from the massive collection of as many demographics as possible.
The Pixel achieved this in a very subtle way. The rapid expansion of Chrome OS in the education sector has given Google a firm hold in this market. The Pixel played a big part in that simply because it spurred OEMs to pursue making new Chromebooks. ‘Eve’ could very well do the same for the consumer market and create an explosion of Chromebooks that even Google has yet to comprehend.
Look at what Google has done in the past year. They released the Pixel Phone which, while not the first mobile device from Google, certainly was the first consumer-focused one and was marketed as such. Everywhere you looked, Pixel phones were highly visible as far as the eye could see. With the Assistant out-of-the-box, the Pixel and Pixel XL already wielded a powerful tool in Google’s data mining arsenal.
Then there was Google Home. The smart-speaker was quickly compared to Amazon’s Alexa-driven Echo. Not really a fair comparison considering Alexa had a two-year head-start on Home and the Google Assistant.
Eight months later, however Google Home is becoming a household name. Backed by massive marketing campaigns, partnerships with retailers and the Google name, Home has become a threat in the world of smart-assistants.
I’ve said this on countless occasions. Google may be officially in the hardware business, but they really aren’t in the hardware business.
It’s all a means to an end. The common thread? Google Assistant.
More data. More revenue. Producing a new, flagship Chromebook equipped with Assistant is an obvious evolution of Google’s tried and true methods of gathering information; especially considering this feature will eventually be available across the board for most Chrome OS devices.
Parity is a beautiful thing.
Not only does it ensure that all Chromebook manufacturers have the same tools at their disposal, but also that Google reaps the rewards of having the Assistant now alive in millions of devices around the world. Not to beat a dead horse, but this only reinforces my belief that ‘Eve’ is, in fact, #madebygoogle.
My apologies. I know this was a very long-winded trek just to express my opinions about this upcoming Chromebook we have become so enamored with, but it all makes perfect sense in my mind and I wanted to share.
Frankly, it excites me to see Chrome OS evolving in such a fundamental manner. Besides, you have to admit, a new Chromebook with the clean, stark-white Google look and those LEDs around the Chrome logo would be a sight to behold.
Anyway, I didn’t forget the questions from when we started this journey.
Who is making ‘Eve’? Personally – and I think Robby agrees – we will be disappointed and slightly shocked if this isn’t a Google-branded Chromebook.
As far as a release date, if we do hear an announcement in the coming months, it is plausible the Chromebook will be available for the holiday season.
Then there’s the price. I’d love to say ‘Eve’ will be around $650 but realistically I would expect no less than $799.
Those are my thoughts on the matter. Like you, we are sitting here getting more impatient by the day. Whatever ‘Eve’ turns out to be and whoever is making it, please hurry up! We’re ready for “the next big thing.”