Google’s Pixelbook has the potential to accelerate the consumer Chromebook market like no other device is the short history of Chrome OS. Over the next six to twelve months, we truly anticipate exponential growth of the awareness of Chrome OS devices in the retail sector. That leads me to ask “what does that look like for future products?”
Convertible Chromebooks continue to push forward with new features and faster hardware but Chrome OS has a lot of room to expand laterally. The Play Store is finally out of Beta and the Pixelbook is a decent representation of how a Chrome OS tablet should look and act which has me itching to see what the impact a true Chromebook tablet could have on the growing ecosystem.
We have been tracking Chrome OS tablets and detachables for months now and though there have been no official announcements from any OEM, they’re coming. With any luck, we could see the new form-factor unveiled at CES 2018 in January.
At initial discover, Chromebooks in the form of a tablet or detachable felt very much like an experiment or even an afterthought. As exciting as it sounded, I wondered if developing a new breed of Chromebook was simply a “because we can” thought by developers. With the unfortunate demise of the rumored Lenovo Yoga Chromebook, part of me wondered of Chrome OS had reached its peak but then arrived the Samsung Chromebook Pro/Plus, ASUS C302 and now the Pixelbook. Public visibility is growing and with it, a wider array of devices will become a must.
Recent developments in the area of Chrome OS tablets and detachable devices lend a lot of weight to a very different story. Kaby Lake-powered Surface Pro-esque Chromebooks are in the works and upcoming machines like the tablet ‘Scarlet‘ continues to add more features that put it on par with products like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A.
The latest hardware updates come in the form of front and rear-facing microphones on ‘Soraka’ which doesn’t come as a shock but it’s reassuring to see the still-unknown manufacturer checking off all of the proper boxes when it comes to detachable features.
Soraka: HiFi.conf: Support front and rear mics.
There are two mics on the soraka device; one is for user-facing and the other is for wide facing. Hence the SectionDevice of Front Mic and Rear Mic are added in the HiFi.conf for cras to support them.
Pretty cut and dry. A mic facing me and one facing you, exactly what you’d want when using a device of this nature in its tablet form.
Next, we see the addition of flash support to the camera on that is found on the new tablet ‘Soraka’.
ov13858: Add support for flash and lens devices
Again, just what you’d expect from a consumer-focused tablet device. To recap, ‘Soraka’ is shaping up to be a Kaby Lake detachable Chromebook equipped with front and rear cameras (one equipped with a flash), dual microphones front and back and possibly a backlit keyboard. All-in-all, this could be a killer device to rival the iPad and many Windows hybrids.
The only real questions I’m left with are who is making this Chromebook and what are the actual display dimensions.
As far as the creator, we have no signs indicating the OEM for ‘Soraka’. Based on preliminary findings, the display appears to be that of the 8-inch variety but that seems quite odd as a detachable that size would be extremely undersized and difficult to handle given the keyboard will most definitely be smaller than standard. I would think and hope that the new Chromebook will be at least in the 10-inch range or use as a laptop will be significantly painful. Something along the lines of the ASUS Transformer Book T100HA comes to mind but even then, this would be a hard sell as a daily driver.
We’ll be keeping a close eye out for this new Chromebook and others as CES 2018 draws near. Make sure you tune is for our live coverage from the floor as we report everything new from the world of Chrome OS.
Source: Chromium Repository