Yesterday, a post went up on Tom’s Guide titled Google Pixelbook 2 release date, specs and rumors and, despite the fact that I’m insanely eager to find anything remotely resembling a link to a Google-made Chromebook for 2020, this post is simply misleading. Yes, the Chromebook they mention is in development, it goes by the code name ‘Zork’ and is powered by higher-end AMD chips than we’ve previously seen before, but there is no connection between this board and the Google hardware team.
I hate writing posts like this, honestly. I don’t take any pleasure in pointing at things and saying, “WRONG!” However, when things like this start making the rounds on the internet and are posted on sites that have very high traffic, I’m inclined to add a bit of objectivity to the conversation in hopes that as people stumble across the above-mentioned story, they might find this one as well and realize that there’s no substance to what they may have just put their hopes in.
As I said in the opening, I really do want to find evidence of a #madebyGoogle Chromebook for 2020. I’ve spent a few hours this week digging for anything that could put me on that path and I’ve come up empty handed so far. I’ve looked at the ways we put the pieces together for the original Pixelbook, the Pixel Slate, and the Pixelbook Go in the lead up to their releases, I’ve looked in all the same places and I’ve come up with not one shred of credible evidence that Google is making a new Chromebook this year. I’m hopeful, but I’m not going to publish something until I have at least a bit of a lead.
For this latest article from Tom’s Guide, the title implies that the author knows the release date and the specs of the Pixelbook 2. First, there’s nothing in the article that even points to a credible fact that Google’s next Chromebook will be a successor to the Pixelbook and there’s no evidence Google is even making their own Chromebook this year. What factual evidence that is in the article is based on a Chromebook baseboard in development code named ‘Zork’ that we’ve talked about quite a bit around here.
‘Zork’ is actually a unibuild board that other devices will be based off of. Like ‘Kukui’ that is the unibuild for multiple devices including ‘Krane’ and ‘Kodama’ (the Lenovo Chromebook Duet and 10e, respectively), ‘Zork’ itself will likely never become a standalone device. It is a reference board to build Chromebook from, not a device in and of itself.
Second, the benchmark they reference in the article isn’t actually a clue at all. Sure, the benchmark shows up in Geekbench search as ‘Google Zork’, but go search for any of the boards we’ve listed here and when you get a hit on one, you’ll notice Google’s name is appended to every single one of them. With the way Google internally controls the naming of the baseboards and overlays in the Chromium Repositories, this is simply the way every single Chromebook shows up in Geekbench. Go try it if you like. Search for ‘Helios’ or ‘Kohaku’ and they will both show up as ‘Google Hatch’ with the motherboard name matching the overlay. A search for ‘Kevin’ brings up ‘Google Samsung Chromebook Plus’ and further drives home the point that Google showing up in the model name has nothing to do with any of these Chromebooks actually being manufactured by Google.
Does that mean Google is skipping a new Chromebook this year? Not at all. I’d imagine they will have something up their sleeves for sure, but ‘Zork’ is just as likely as any other Chromebook we are tracking right now. While the Tom’s Guide article did list the specs for ‘Zork’ properly, those simply aren’t the specs for the upcoming Pixelbook 2 and that benchmark for certain isn’t any sort of proof that Google is even making a Pixelbook 2 at all.
At this juncture, all we can do is wait and see. We’re digging: I promise you that. But until we get some solid info to go on, all we can do is guess and try to continue and deliver factually-accurate information to those interested in whatever it is Google plans next. I could see them updating the Pixelbook Go line just as quickly as I could see them issuing a new Pixelbook 2, so we’re looking for any evidence we can find that points us towards a legitimate leak. For now, though, we simply don’t actually know anything. We’ll make sure to update you when we do.