Back in February, we uncovered a commit pointing to what looked like the beginnings of development of the first 4K Chromebook. In that post, we talked through all the ins-and-outs of 4K, how it measures, how it relates to image clarity and the impact it has on system performance.
More than anything, we talked about whether or not it is even necessary. My answer to that is most definitely a firm NO at this point. It was my opinion in the original article and this all still seems like a bit of overkill.
Thanks to a report from the folks over at XDA, however, we at least have a device to tie this 4K screen to: ‘Atlas’.
We uncovered ‘Atlas’ just a few weeks ago, but XDA has found a connection between the 4K panel in testing and with the new Chromebook ‘Atlas’. You can see the yaml file from the Chromium Repository here if you like, but the language is pretty clear
# 3840×2160, boots recovery image on USB ports.
screen: [3840, 2160]
hi_res: [en, es-419, pt-BR, fr, es, it, de, nl, da, nb, sv, ko, ja, id, th, ar, ms, zh-CN, zh-TW, fi, pl]
So, the mystery of ‘Atlas’ continues. We know it is a high-end device that copies much from the Pixelbook, but now it outdoes that device with a much higher-res screen.
None of this answers the question of why, though. The only scenario I can imagine this makes sense in is a larger Pixelbook (or something like it). If the Pixelbook is the Macbook Pro 13 competitor, ‘Atlas’ could become the 15-inch Macbook Pro answer.
This makes a bit of sense to me since a stretch to 15-inches would cut down the DPI on the Pixelbook. To keep that pin-sharp display, you need more pixels on a larger screen. Without a physically bigger screen, though, I simply don’t see a single reason for a 4K display. I know we’ve had many, many comments about the Pixelbook, wishing it had a larger screen. For many, the 12.3-inch display isn’t quite big enough.
Who knows? In ‘Atlas’, perhaps that wish could be granted. As always, we’ll be digging for more info!