It’s been well over a year since we discovered the Chromebook known then only as ‘Eve’. Fast-forward a year and we now have, in the flesh, Google’s Pixelbook which is the realization of ‘Eve’ in all its beauty.
All-in-all, we were spot on with our speculations about what features Google’s Pixelbook would offer up to the world of Chrome OS.
A fingerprint sensor was one of the first features dug up from the repositories in the midst of the Pixelbooks year-long development. We found multiple instances of the driver and device being tested on ‘Eve’ and honestly when landed in San Francisco back in October, it never crossed my mind that the Pixelbook wouldn’t be equipped with a fingerprint scanner.
It was not and we were not only disappointed but a bit confused as to why the most cutting-edge Chromebook ever designed dropped this much-anticipated feature. Chrome OS itself has continued the development of fingerprint sensor support to the point that it has found its way into the settings menu for Quick Unlock in the Stable channel. (mind you it’s behind a flag but still)
We made it a point to ask the Google guys what happened but were given a bit of a canned response about how it “just didn’t pan out.” Take your pick of what the real reason was. Needless to say, the fingerprint scanner isn’t there and that’s a bummer.
The whole situation just got a whole lot fuzzier this week as we uncovered a commit that is actually updating the fingerprint architecture on ‘Eve’ a.k.a Pixelbook. The change clearly reads:
TEST=do a finger capture on Eve EVT.
Now, we have seen many examples where developers are using devices that never even made it to production to test features and such. However, this particular commit carries the “EVT” label which is the first step in the 3-step process to production. Read more about that here.
If developers were simply testing a fingerprint sensor on the Pixelbook, EVT would be an irrelevant label as the Pixelbook is beyond any of the development phases. So, why do we have the board ‘Eve’ connected to commits that are being branded with the EVT (engineering validation test) designation?
One possibility is the yet-unreleased Core i7 Pixelbook that is still listed as “coming soon” in the Google Store. The problem with that theory? The beefed-up version of the Pixelbook is rumored to be released soon, very soon. Some sites have listed it as shipping as early as this week.
A device that will be available anywhere in the next 2-3 months would be well beyond the EVT stage. As a matter of fact, they would be beyond PVT (final development stage) and already in production if not sitting on shelves waiting to ship.
That leaves us with another plausibility. Google is developing a second iteration of the Pixelbook. Perhaps this will be the Enterprise device that will leverage containers and be a developer’s dream come true. Google is clearly committed to the Chromebook ecosystem and perhaps they are planning a line of Pixelbooks to lead that charge.
I’ll be keeping a close eye on these new findings around our friend ‘Eve’. Hopefully, we can dig up some more details and shine some light on what Google is up to. In the meantime, there’s plenty more news from the world of Chrome OS. Stay up-to-date right here at Chrome Unboxed.
Source: Chromium Repository