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Upcoming Detachable Samsung Chromebook ‘Nautilus’ To Have Stowable Stylus

Last month, Gabriel published a fantastic article outlining the reasons we are quite sure the upcoming detachable Chromebook only known at this point as ‘Nautilus’ is made by Samsung. Today, we have yet another really fun tidbit about Samsung’s latest foray into the Chromebook world.

Pushing Envelopes

You can argue quite a bit about the pros and cons (pun intended) of Samsungs last two Chromebooks, but no one in their right mind can deny that Samsung pushed the entire Chromebook ecosystem forward last year with the release of the Chromebook Pro and Plus.

The screens, thinness, performance, and included stylus were all quite forward-thinking and helped more people see what is capable in a ~$500 Chromebook when manufacturers spend time developing for this platform.

While it is true that the Pixelbook eclipses those devices in every single way, it can’t go unsaid that it is also twice the price. For many, many people, the Samsung Chromebook Pro is a perfect fit for their day-to-day Chromebook needs.

It seems, however, that Samsung isn’t content to ride the wave they created with the Pro and Plus. It seems, instead, that they are ready to push into uncharted waters yet again with ‘Nautilus’.

A Place To Call Home

You can see in the language from this commit that ‘Nautilus’ is again most definitely a Samsung device (Jongpil Jung is the author) and it will retain one of my absolute favorite features of the Pro and Plus: a stowable stylus. Check it out:

Nautilus has a PEN_EJECT signal that is routed to 2 CPU GPIO pins:

B19: We need an input driver to use this to emit SW_PEN_INSERTED event. (This patch enables the B19 usecase).
B21: This is used for wakeup (configured by ACPI)

Kevin uses gpio-keys driver to do this but the driver only understands device trees or platform data. Hence we instantiate the gpio-keys with the platform data.

BUG=b:71329519
TEST=Verify that the “stylus tools” menu gets launched when I eject the pen on nautilus.

Now, there’s a lot of stuff in there I only partially understand, but I bolded the parts that are clear and lead us to our conclusions about a stowable pen for ‘Nautilus’.

There are multiple references to ejecting the pen, inserting the pen, and the stylus tools menu appearing when you do so. There’s also reference to ‘Kevin’, which is the Samsung Chromebook Plus. From the looks of all this, I’d fully expect to see something similar to the pen and digitizer being used on the Samsung Chromebook Plus/Pro when we finally see ‘Nautilus’ in the flesh.

There’s still much we simply don’t know about ‘Nautilus’ and the truth is, we may not find a lot of it before we finally see this device in the flesh. By their nature, devices with Intel chipsets are much less transparent in their development in the Chromium Repositories, so we dig around for anything we can find. My next hope is to find some details about the screen size and resolution as this will paint a clearer picture of what type of device we should start to expect.

As development only really began in September for ‘Nautilus’, I don’t expect to be seeing anything at CES this year, but who knows? The Samsung Chromebook Plus was developed and basically ready for a reveal in about 4 months before being pushed back due to Android Apps not being ready, so there’s a chance we could see it at CES.

Stay tuned as we learn more about this very, very intruiging device.

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