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Leaked Intel processor could help Google Pixel Slate dual-boot into Windows

Leaked benchmarks for the Google Pixel Slate reveals that Google’s first Chrome OS tablet may be released with an Intel processor instead of the ARM-powered chipset found on many Chromebooks on the market today. The device is expected to be unveiled on October 9, and it was previously known in early leaks by its code name, “Nocturne.”

The Geekbench database uncovered by PhoneArena reveals that the Pixel Slate will ship with an Intel Core i7-8500Y processor. The eighth-generation Intel dual-core processor is part of the company’s Amber Lake series, which uses a low-powered 5-watt design. As such, don’t expect performance to be quite as fast as the Core i7 found on mainstream notebooks, but the Intel chipset should still pack in plenty of power.

In addition to the Amber Lake processor, the device is also expected to ship with 16GB of RAM. It’s unclear how this configuration fits in with Google’s Pixelbook lineup, or whether Google will offer a higher end model with a Kaby Lake R processor. The Kaby Lake R chipset would make the Pixel Slate a successor to the current Pixelbook. Although it’s not as powerful as the chipset on the Pixelbook, the Pixel Slate’s Amber Lake processor could make this device more affordable.

Unlike budget-friendly ARM-based Chromebooks, Google has historically leaned on Intel for processing power on its own branded Chrome OS devices, including the Chromebook Pixel and the Pixelbook. This year, with rumors that Chrome OS could allow users to dual-boot into Windows 10, Google’s reliance on an Intel x86 processor is even more important. If this rumor turns out to be true, then the Intel chipset will not only give the Pixel Slate the performance it needs to fluidly handle Chrome OS for demanding users, but it will also bring compatibility with Windows. The addition of Windows means that the Pixel Slate can run apps from three operating systems: Windows, Chrome OS, and Android.

The benchmark showed that the Pixel Slate runs Android 9 Pie. While most Chromebooks on the market today capable of running Android apps run Android 7.1.1, this is the first time that we’re seeing Android 9 Pie on Chrome OS.

As a tablet, the Pixel Slate is expected to arrive with a detachable keyboard, compact design, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The detachable design isn’t the first for Chrome OS — that honor goes to the HP Chromebook x2 — but it will allow the Pixel Slate to compete against other consumer tablets, including Apple’s iPad with its keyboard accessory and Microsoft’s Surface Go.

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Chuong Nguyen
Silicon Valley-based technology reporter and Giants baseball fan who splits his time between Northern California and Southern…
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