Google is working on an all-new Chromebook to tackle Surface Pro


Google typically holds a hardware event in October where the Californian firm reveals its latest and greatest gadgets. While the arrival of a new Pixel smartphone is usually a highlight, Google has also used the event to unveil new smart speakers, smart displays, wireless earbuds, and more. And this year, it seems one of the new arrivals could be a redesigned Chromebook.

The new notebook, which was unearthed by the team at 9To5Google, is codenamed “Halvor” inside the Mountain View-based firm. Google usually uses its Chromebook designs to showcase what is possible with its Chrome OS desktop operating system, which is typically found in more affordable machines with plastic cases and lower resolution displays designed to appeal to the education market.

In contrast, Google has always priced its Chromebooks closer to counterparts like Apple’s MacBook Air, or the Surface Pro and Surface Laptop line-up from Microsoft. These higher-end machines boast stunning lightweight designs and pixel-packed displays. The Pixelbook Go, which as announced by Google during its Made By Google showcase last October, starts from £629 but rises to £1,329 when maxed-out. Its predecessor, the Google Pixelbook, started at £999 and capped out at £1,699 (not including the £99 Pixel Pen stylus).

So, will the all-new “Halvor” model be a successor to the latter, or a refresh of the Pixelbook Go from last year? Well, it’s difficult to tell right now, but in terms of design, it seems the next-generation Chromebook will share a number of similarities with the Pixelbook Go.

Google Pixelbook Go (2019) review

According to clues hidden in code, 9To5Google claims that “Halvor” will have the same keyboard as the Pixelbook Go. That means there will be a row of function keys at the top of the keyboard, including the likes of a Play/Pause ket – a first for Chromebooks when it appeared on the Go. A dedicated Google Assistant button, which lets laptop owners summon the talkative assistant without uttering the wake phrases “Hey Google,” or “OK, Google” loudly in the coffee shop they’re working in, will also appear on the new “Halvor” model, the code hints.

“Halvor” will have a trackpad and a touchscreen, which points to the laptop being able to flip around to convert into a tablet – like the Google Pixelbook (something that was ditched with the Pixelbook Go, which does have a touchscreen). And that’s about it.

The team at 9To5Google have found evidence that it could sport up to 16GB of RAM. That doesn’t sound like the configuration you’ll find in the base model, but it does seem to suggest that this will be a powerful machine capable of juggling multiple Chrome browser tabs as well as Android apps and games.

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