We don’t spend much time doing largely speculative articles around here. We try to have some sort of proof and/or reasoning before we make claims about devices that are in the market or are coming soon.
Today, I’m going to speculate a bit, though.
Yesterday, we reported on a few more details that have emerged for the upcoming Chromebook ‘Eve’. Nowhere in those details or the ones we had prior is there any direct clue to who may be manufacturing this device.
At least not clearly.
There are some clues that give us a bit insight, though. Not enough to make the case for a factual argument, but certain timelines, interviews and email addresses in commits add up to a likely candidate.
So let’s look at this circumstantial evidence real quick and see what you think.
Commit Emails: Commits made in the repositories (where hardware and software features and bugs are addressed and worked out, basically) are authored and owned by different people. Being open-source, these folks can be from anywhere. Different developers from different companies can add to the project, so we see all sorts of email addresses in these commits.
We do, however, end up seeing repetitive emails from time to time. In the case of the ASUS Chromebook Flip C302, for instance, the numerous ASUS emails made it pretty clear that device was made by ASUS. Additionally, the same person could be found all over other already-released ASUS Chromebooks.
In the same way, with ‘Eve’, we are seeing one email in particular that is all over many of the commits. The email belonging to Duncan Laurie, an individual that has been heavily involved with mainly flagship devices like the Pixel, HP Chromebook 13 G1, Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro, and The ASUS Chromebook Flip C302.
While his heavy involvement with ‘Eve’ isn’t confirmation of an exact manufacturer, it narrows things a bit. This is clearly going to be a big release of the flagship level.
Timelines: We also have to ask who hasn’t released a flagship device in over a year. Samsung and ASUS are just now really pushing their latest, so they are out. Acer is still riding the R13 wave for the time being, but they could be in consideration, here. With ‘Pbody’ getting ditched, we aren’t sure what Lenovo is up to, but there are some emails we tend to see in Lenovo device commits that we have not yet seen with ‘Eve’, so we’re inclined to think they are out.
That leaves Dell and HP. Mr. Laurie doesn’t seem to be involved in much of Dell’s products, but he was heavily involved in HP’s last flagship: the HP Chromebook 13 G1. This was a device that Google was heavily involved with, so we’d expect the same treatment with ‘Eve’.
Interviews: This is the last part. Back in the fall, Wired published an article about how Chromebooks were poised to truly shake up the PC market. Their point was simple: with Android apps fully deployed and multiple form factors available, the use-cases will expand quickly around Chromebooks in the coming years.
We responded to that article here, so you can read more if you’d like. Today, however, we’re just taking one particlular comment from a particular person in that article that I remembered just yesterday. Check it out:
Computer industry execs believe Chrome OS has come into its own, that people will now choose it over Windows for reasons other than price. For many new customers, says Stacy Wolff, HP’s global head of design, “their first device was a smartphone. And they look for the cleanliness, the simplicity, the stability of what we see in those devices.” That’s the thinking behind the sharp and business-like HP Chromebook 13, the company’s new $500 laptop. Wolf sounds eager to continue down the fancy road, too: When I ask why the Chromebook 13’s not as nice as the Windows-powered Spectre 13, which is one of the best-looking and lightest laptops ever made, he pauses to make sure he’s not giving too much away. “I can’t talk about the future, but there’s nothing that stops us from continuing to go and revolutionize that space.” The $1,000 Chromebook used to be a silly sideshow, Google’s way of overshooting. Soon enough, it’ll be a totally viable purchase.
This was written about 4 months after the HP Chromebook 13 G1 was released. That Chromebook hit shelves in May of 2016, right about a year ago. In this article we have the global head of design from HP hinting very strongly at a high-class flagship Chromebook in the works. Remember ‘Eve’ showed up in the repositories in October, not too long after this article was published.
Since then, HP has definitely not delivered a flagship Chromebook and we wouldn’t have expected them to. But, sitting here a year removed from their last big Chromebook, the stage seems set for HP to announce a new device in the coming months. Could that be ‘Eve’?
Again, I want to reiterate that this is all very speculative. But, as we were discussing the oddity that almost all of ‘Eve’s commits come from @google.com or @chromium.org email addresses, we are really curious about this one.
Google seems pretty firm that they won’t be shipping any new Pixel Chromebooks, but maybe they’ve changed their mind? Maybe this is a very tight collaboration?
The questions remain unanswered, but the lack of any outside emails on these commits still has us wondering exactly what is going on here. The only devices we’ve seen with this tight of a commit path has a Pixel name attached.
Time will tell, as it always does, and we’ll continue to dig and tell what we find as we go.