Pixelbook Go: Everything we know so far about Google’s next laptop

Is the Pixelbook Go Google's next laptop? Here's everything we know so far

Thanks to its clean design and powerful internals, the Google Pixelbook remains one of the best Chromebooks on the market today, and a capable Windows or Mac replacement. It’s been more than two years since the Pixelbook went on sale, however, leaving us hoping for its successor to soon be announced. 

It’s been over year of rumors and speculation, but it’s become increasingly apparent that the successor to the Pixelbook is coming soon, and may be called the Pixelbook Go. Here’s everything we know so far.

Release date and price

pixelbook vs. macbook pro

Google has a hardware event currently scheduled for October 15, 2019. Though the Pixel 4 will undoubtedly be in the spotlight, it might make sense for the Pixelbook Go to also make an appearance. In addition, 9t05Google’s latest report on the matter says that “multiple sources familiar with the plan” have said that the technology company does plan to debut a new Pixelbook during the October 15 event.

Rumors originally suggested the Pixelbook successor would initially launch at Google’s October 2018 hardware event, but instead Google announced the ill-fated Pixel Slate. The was canceled less than a year after its launch.

The exact pricing of the Pixelbook Go is still unknown. The original Pixelbook was priced starting at $999. It’s always been the most expensive Chromebook you can buy, and we don’t expect that to change for the Go. If Google ends up offering a 4K model, you can expect it to be even more expensive. The official price and release date is likely to be announced during Pixelbook Go’s unveiling at next month’s hardware event.

The Pixelbook Go? Not the Pixelbook 2?

The original Pixelbook was a 2-in-1, meaning it had a 360 hinge that could be flipped over into a “tablet mode.”

According to a recent report by 9to5Google, the next Pixelbook is expected to resemble more of a traditional clamshell Chromebook, sporting a 16:9 13.3-inch screen, 4K resolution, and support for the Pixelbook Pen. After the failure of the Pixel Slate, it seems like a bit of a pivot in terms of direction for the design.

Furthermore, it’s not going to be called the Pixelbook 2. This new laptop will be named the Pixelbook Go; a name that undoubtedly is a reference to how its design has a clear emphasis on portability.

10th-gen processors?

The Pixelbook Go is expected to offer variety of options when it comes to its processor, RAM, and storage size. According to the same 9to5 Google report, the Pixelbook Go may become available with different processor configurations including: Intel Core i3, i5, and i7. Two choices for RAM (8 or 16 GB) and three tiers for storage (64, 128, or 256GB).

We don’t yet know, however, exactly what processor generation Google will use. Given the recent launch of Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake processors, that seems like the best choice for the Pixelbook Go. The mobile processors are available in either Y-series or U-series chips, both of which offer quad-core chips and improved Iris Plus graphics.

When it launched in late 2017, the original Pixelbook shared the same 7th-generation Intel mobile processors as Apple’s 12-inch MacBook, making it a capable machine for a Chromebook. Google eventually did make the switch to Intel’s 8th-generation processors in October when it announced the Pixel Slate. That device debuted with Intel’s Amber Lake Y-Series processor, coming in a dual-core, four-thread architecture that’s designed for thin and light devices.

Sticking with Intel chips this year could help the Pixelbook Go improve on the performance of the original, but it could also help Google bring dual-boot support to Chrome OS. The feature could have allowed Chrome OS hardware to also boot into Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, making the Pixelbook Go a more competitive device for business users. Unfortunately, Google did not debut the dual-booting feature when it unveiled the Pixel Slate, and it’s unclear if dual-boot support is in the works anymore.

Leaked images show black chassis with moderate bezels

pixelbook go news rumors specs release date atlas google 2 shot 1
Credit: 9to5 Google

Thin bezels had been at the top of our wishlist for new features on the next Pixelbook. According to leaked photos from 9t05Google, the side-bezels are significantly thinner than those found in the original Pixelbook, they’re not as thin as other leaks had suggested. The bottom bezel, on the other hand, seems almost as thick as the bottom bezel found in the original Pixelbook.

The Google’s anticipated successor also showed a black chassis, whereas the original Pixelbook was only available in aluminum. This was later confirmed by later reports also indicated that unnamed sources said that the Pixelbook Go would be available in the following colors: “Just Black” and a very pale pink called “Not Pink.” If that’s true, the silver model may have been replaced altogether.

Better portability, improved speakers, and USB-C

Like it’s name suggests, the Pixelbook Go’s design seems to be all about being portable.

The 9to5Google report states that the bottom of the Pixelbook Go was designed to have a tactile feel to “make it easier to hold.” In addition, the Go’s lightweight design can be attributed to its magnesium-alloy body.

The same report also states that the Pixelbook Go will have “much more powerful speakers than the Pixelbook”; of which there will be two, and they’ll both be front-firing. There will also be two, front-facing microphones to capture sound and a front-facing 2-megapixel camera with the ability to capture 1080p video at 60 FPS.

FCC filing indicates updated connectivity

One reason we believe that the Pixelbook Go is on its way in fall 2019 is that the manufacturer Quanta has filed with the FCC to modify a wireless chip inside an unnamed computer device. Quanta creates Google devices, including the Pixel Slate, so it’s a good guess that this new filing pertains to upcoming chips for the Atlas project.

The change is an updated Intel chip that will improve both Wi-fi and Bluetooth capabilities for faster connections. No past Google devices have this particular update, which makes it very likely that it will be part of a new device release.

But there’s still a chance that the Pixelbook Go might not get updated connectivity, as an unnamed source also recently told 9to5Google that the Pixelbook Go would have the “same WiFi and Bluetooth” as the Pixel Slate.

The Pixelbook Go is also expected to still have two USB-C ports and a headphone jack.

A tale of two Pixelbooks

Google Pixel Slate Hands-on
Juliana Jara/Digital Trends Espanol

Early leaks in 2018 suggested that Google was developing two devices internally called Nocturne and Atlas. Both devices made appearances in the Chromium repository and seem quite likely to be two different renditions of a second-generation Pixelbook. When Atlas first showed up in the repository, it was said to be “closely related to eve,” with Eve being the codename of the original Pixelbook. Atlas also has the same number of ports as the original Pixelbook.

Nocturne, as we now know from Google’s event in late 2018, launched as the Pixel Slate. At the event, Google executives claimed that the Slate represents the company’s new vision for Chrome OS to deliver productivity and entertainment on the go. The Slate is Google’s first Chrome OS tablet, but also one that can convert into a laptop thanks to an optional $199 keyboard folio accessory.

Atlas was then believed to be the codename for the Pixelbook 2, a Chrome OS convertible laptop that would share a similar form factor to the original Pixelbook.

Since then, the Pixel Slate — along with all future Google Pixel tablets — have been canned.

Thinner bezels, higher resolution display, fast charging

Google/ChromeUnboxed

In late 2018, a leaked Google advert appeared to show a near-bezel-free Pixelbook-like device, potentially giving us our first look at what the next-generation Pixelbook looks like. This would confirm rumors reported by VentureBeat’s Evan Blass, who tweeted in late 2018 that smaller bezels are part of this year’s upgrade.

Then a second image appeared in summer 2019 showing Atlas with a new, updated silver frame, and significantly smaller bezels. The newer photos have shown that the design has changed a bit since then, showing large bezels and new color options. Another key display feature that was rumored then was a 4K resolution, which now seems more likely.

What seems a bit more clear, however, is that the next-generation Pixelbook could support quick charging through a feature known as “Zinger.” Language in a code commit mentions that Atlas, the code name for the Pixelbook Go, can push a chargers power limit to 60-watts and pull more power when it is needed. This comes as a change from most Chromebook models, which charges through 30- and 45-watt power bricks.

Fingerprint and facial recognition security

google may add fingerprint scanner to pixelbook 2 tablet chrome os 70 dev render

Leaked code found on the Chrome developer channel suggested that fingerprint scanning and facial recognition would be available on Nocturne, giving users the ability to login to their device without the need for a password. That would be useful for tablet logins where onscreen keyboard typing is far from ideal, and fortunately, the feature did materialize on the Pixel Slate when Google announced that tablet.

Google debuted its Pixel Imprint fingerprint scanner on the Pixel Slate, to allow users to log into their Chrome OS devices without needing to type in a password. The feature will likely also make its way to the Pixelbook Go. When it debuted earlier this year, Pixel Imprint wasn’t perfect.

If you share your Pixel Slate between multiple users, you can’t use different fingerprints to switch between profiles. Only the first user is able to use their fingerprint to unlock the Pixel Slate, Google claimed. Hopefully, Google will make profile switching easier if the Pixelbook Go debuts with this technology.

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