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Rumored 4K Chromebook could make the Pixelbook look like old news

One of the best parts of the Google Pixelbook was its beautiful display. But with a 3:2 aspect ratio, its pixel-dense 2,400 x 1,600 panel made for black-bar-trimmed media viewing. It may be that a new king of the Chromebooks is in the works though, as a hint within the Chromium source code suggests a Chromebook with a 4K display may not be far away.

Chromebooks are typically low-cost laptops targeted at those who do most of their computing tasks within a web browser. If your main purpose is to check email and watch Netflix, Chromebooks work very well and can save you a lot of money in return. Still, as the Pixelbook proved, there’s no harm in having the odd high-end Chromebook option for those who want it and a 4K version could join in at the top end.

We don’t have anything in the way of specifications for such a system, but we do know that much in the way Chrome OS’ source code supports the Pixelbook and its 2,400 x 1,600 display, under the codename “eve” it also now supports “atlas.” Atlas is an unknown device with a display resolution of 3,840 x 2,160, more commonly known as 4K.

Although it would seem likely that atlas is a new device altogether, the fact that it doesn’t seem to have an SD card slot could mean that it represents a 4K option for the Pixelbook.

The benefits of a 4K screen on a Chromebook aren’t exactly exhaustive, but as The Verge highlights, it could be that whoever is developing this is simply looking to make a 15-inch device with comparable features to Windows counterparts. Full-screen ultra-HD Netflix support could also be a selling point, as in theory, a 4K Chromebook should be cheaper than Windows alternatives, even if its hardware would need to be somewhat impressive to support the high resolution.

The question now arises of when we’ll learn more about such a device. It may be that Google will talk up “atlas” at its upcoming I/O in May, but if it’s being produced by another manufacturer, we may have a longer wait.

For a look at some of our favorite Chromebooks, here’s a list of the best ones available right now.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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