The upcoming Chromebook, known only as ‘Sarien’ at this point, is a device likely coming from Dell with top-tier specs, a detachable form-factor, and Wacom stylus support. Additionally, the fact that two USB-C docks are being tested alongside both ‘Sarien’ and ‘Arcada’ not only tipped us off to Dell being behind these devices, it also raised a few questions as to what types of Chromebooks these might be and why the docks being supported are so important.
Today’s find only furthers the bit of mystery surrounding ‘Sarien’ and ‘Arcada’. In the Chromium Repositories, we’ve found clear evidence supporting unique keyboard layouts for both of these devices. Check out the language below:
overlay-sarien: Give sarien its own keyboard-layout ID.
Sarien and arcada use a device-specific top-row keyboard layout and action/Fn-key handling. This is communicated to Chrome through the CROS_KEYBOARD_TOP_ROW_LAYOUT keyboard-layout ID.
Device-specific keyboard layout? We’ve not seen anything like that since Pixelbook and Pixel Slate. And, if this was simply that layout being used again, they wouldn’t need to specify another new keyboard layout: they could simply grab the layout from those existing board overlays.
So now, I’m even more curious about what we should expect from ‘Arcada’ and ‘Sarien’. From the commits, they are clearly Chromebooks, but I’m not clear why these particular devices should get a different top-row keyboard layout than any other device.
At this point, we’re just searching for more clues around why these two Chromebooks would need different keyboard layouts. Windows devices get unique keyboard layouts all the time, but Chromebooks stick to the standard layout unless they are made by Google. While we’ve been expecting some of these new devices to finally adopt the new top-row keyboard layout on the Pixelbook and Pixel Slate, we’ve not seen this happen yet.
And now there’s possibly another layout? I’m just as confused as you probably are right now, but I’m open to suggestions, thoughts, and musings around why this could happening. Hit us up in the comments and lets continue the discussion!