A new Chromebook is reportedly in the works, and it’s said to be a high-end device with a fingerprint scanner and a dedicated button for Google Assistant.
Google Assistant has apparently been busy spawning copies of itself to live in so many different devices: first it was the Pixel phones and the Google Home, but it quickly expanded to virtually all Android devices. And now, rumor has it Google Assistant might find itself inside a Chromebook in the near future, not unlike Siri inside MacBooks and Cortana inside Windows 10 PCs.
According to 9to5Google, a new Chrome OS baseboard codenamed “Eve” has been discovered. Chrome OS baseboards, as the name might suggest, indicate an early stage in the development of Chrome OS devices like Chromebooks. In particular, Chrome Unboxed recently found a commit which points to an extra “Assistant” button in the keyboard mapping for “Eve.” It also reports that Duncan Laurie’s email address appears many times in the repositories, meaning “Eve” is likely to be a flagship device much like other products he’s been deeply involved in.
Whether the new Google Assistant button will replace any of the current ones or will simply be an additional button remains unclear. However, it’s expected to be similar to the one we have on Android devices, meaning it’ll be able to hear wake-up commands (i.e. OK, Google or Hey, Google) and respond to them accordingly.
Can “Eve” be a Surface Laptop killer?
In addition to the dedicated button for Google Assistant, it looks like “Eve” will bring other high-end features: Chrome Unboxed cites commit emails to claim that “Eve” will have a convertible form factor with support for a stylus. It’s expected to feature a fingerprint scanner, a high-resolution screen (2400 x 1600), Kaby Lake processors, and a newly-designed touchpad. It’s not yet known who will be making “Eve,” but one thing is for sure: Google wants to have its own version of the MacBook Air or the Surface Laptop. The question is “Will it be able to compete?”
Surface Laptop runs on Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS, but users can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free. Indeed, that’s where “Eve” will differ.
MacBook Air offers decent specs and MacBook durability for an un-Apple-like price. Surface Laptop does everything that MacBook Air can do and more for the same price. Sure, it runs on Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s answer to Chrome OS, but users can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free, and the Surface Laptop has the hardware to support it. Indeed, that’s where “Eve” will differ. The alleged specs of the upcoming Chromebook seem to mirror those of Surface Laptop: a beautiful display with advanced stylus support, probably geared towards university students who are looking for versatile computing devices that won’t break the bank. However, even if “Eve” ends up getting access to the Play Store apps, it will never become the full computer that its rivals are.
Of course, pricing and design will also have an impact, but even with Google Assistant and its convertible form factor, “Eve” probably won’t be enough if your laptop usage depends on software, and Google will probably have a hard time convincing people why they should buy “Eve” over the Surface Laptop.
What do you think “Eve” will be like? Do you own a Chromebook, and do you think it can replace MacBooks and PCs right now? Let us know by leaving a comment below.