The commits for a ChromeOS device codenamed 'Atlas' showed references of a keyboard-less mode implying the next-generation of the Pixelbook could be detachable and work as a tablet.
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Along with the Pixel 2 smartphones, Google launched the Pixelbook last year. Unlike previous Chromebook units, the ChromeOS-powered laptop could flip into a tablet with a keyboard folded on the back. Now, Google seems to be making changes to this form-factor and is expected to launch the next generation Pixelbook with a detachable display. Google may launch the new tablet/laptop hybrid in October this year, alongside the new Pixel 3 smartphones.
The claims were first made by famous leakster Evan Blass in May when he tweeted, “Add to this fall hardware lineup a second-generation Pixelbook, with smaller bezels, scheduled to ship before the end of the year.” He also claimed that besides “the Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, and second-gen Pixel Buds, Google's fall hardware event will also introduce a Pixel-branded watch.” This claim was followed up by tech news platform aboutchromebooks.com, which, while going through commits for a device in the Chrome repositories codenamed 'Atlas,' discovered that Atlas is the only ChromeOS device aside from the current Pixelbook without an SD card slot and its commits have a reference of a keyboardless mode for booting into recovery implying that the Atlas device can separate from the keyboard.
But why does Google want to go detachable? A report in Android Authority says that the search giant might want to position its laptop against Apple iPad and Microsoft’s Surface Pro devices. Unfortunately, not much is known about the hardware of the rumoured laptop/tablet, but it is expected that it will belongs to the Kaby Lake family. It reportedly has a 4K screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and "reduced" bezels which points to a lower-power CPU. If Google wants to compete with Microsoft and Apple, it has to make the hybrid device powerful and productive.
Apart from the detachable feature, the new Pixelbook may have a face recognition unlocking system. A previous report claimed that Google may introduce Windows 10 OS in its upcoming Pixelbook. A company document was seen mentioning AltOS in it which is reportedly codename for a Windows OS. If this is true, Google may use the Windows Hello advanced facial recognition system. The last Pixelbook was launched at a starting price of $999 and is the first convertible Chromebook with Google Assistant built-in. The entry-level Pixelbook sports an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, and 128GB storage. There is a high-end variant with Intel Core i7 chip, 16GB RAM, and 512GB of storage.
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