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Trying to make sense of Google's Pixelbook 2 plans is giving us a headache

Two (or possibly even three) Pixelbook successors could launch this October.

Published onSeptember 6, 2018

staff picks google pixelbook
  • Two (or possibly even three) Pixelbook successors could be launched this October.
  • “Atlas” and “Nocturne” both appear to be likely candidates, although a third device “Meowth” could also be in the running.
  • If there is more than one Pixelbook 2, it appears that one will be a traditional laptop with a 4K display and the other will be a detachable device.

Google could be gearing up to release not one but two new Pixelbook hardware revisions at an expected Made by Google event this October.

Rumors have been floating around for a while that the search giant will introduce a second generation Pixelbook, but there’s been some confusion over the form factor.

A second-gen Pixelbook will need more than just thinner bezels
An image of the Google PIxelbook.

Back in April, evidence emerged that at a premium Chrome OS device with a 4K screen was in the works. However, that project, codenamed “Atlas,” is apparently just one of a number of potential candidates to take the Pixelbook 2 mantle.

In a recent report, Chrome Unboxed speculated that both Atlas and another Chromebook with a detachable design dubbed “Nocturne.” The site notes several similarities in the way both Nocturne and Atlas appear in Chromium commits and suggests that both devices may be launched under the Pixelbook brand.

Both projects appear to be based on the same board outfitted with 8th-gen Kabylake processors and both seem to feature Control Panel and Google Assistant keys, much like the first Pixelbook.

Yet despite their reported similarities, it’s easy to see why Google might choose to release both a traditional laptop-style Pixelbook and a detachable to cater to different needs. It’s the latter device, however, that feels less and less certain as we approach October.

Nocturne’s headline feature is its detachable design, which is expected to double up with a keyboard attachment currently only known as “Whiskers.” While that all makes sense on paper, there’s another mysterious Chrome OS device with a detachable showing up in commits called “Meowth.”

Google Pixelbook hinge

Even if you’re not familiar with the feline Pokémon that the device appears to be named after, it doesn’t take a genius to link “Whiskers” to the cat-inspired codename. And wouldn’t you know it, 9to5Google says that the Whiskers keyboard has been designed to work with both Nocturne and Meowth.

Of course, it’s worth taking all of this with a pinch of salt until we hear officially from the big G. While we could quite easily see one, two, or even three Pixelbook devices, Google could quite as easily call the whole thing off (as it apparently has with the long-rumored Pixel Watch).

If there is to be a second-generation Pixelbook, there’s strong evidence to suggest that regardless of whatever form factor it’ll adopt, it’ll come kitted out with a fingerprint sensor — a first for Chrome OS — as well as thinner bezels, and hopefully a whole host of other improvements.

What features would you like to see on the Pixelbook 2? Would you be interested in a detachable Pixelbook? Let us know in the comments.

Up next: You might eventually run Windows 10 on the Google Pixelbook

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