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Pixelbook 2: 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, and we recently saw the announcement and release of the Pixelbook Go instead

Since then, rumors and speculation have been spreading regards to the true successor to Google’s original Pixelbook — what we believe to called the Google Pixelbook 2.  Here’s everything we know so far.

Release date and price

pixelbook vs. macbook pro
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Google’s last hardware event was on October 15, 2019. Though the Pixel 4 and the Pixelbook Go and many other products were revealed, we didn’t see the Pixelbook 2. The Pixelbook Go ended up being a clamshell laptop, and not a tablet or 2-in-1 like the Pixelbook.

With that said, we still might end up seeing the Pixelbook 2 released next year in October of 2020 instead. We also expect the pricing to be in the $1,000 range, just as the original Pixelbook. After all, Google has already billed the Pixelbook Go to be the affordable flagship Chromebook option.

More importantly, though, according to Chromeunboxed, a new wave of Chromebooks will be coming later in 2020. These devices have different codenames and judging from code in repositories are known as “Hatch,” “Kukui,”  and”Cheza.” Of all these codenames, Hatch is the most interesting, as it sets the standard for what you would expect in a flagship Chromebook like the Pixelbook 2. As we detail later, this mentions stylus support, WiFi 6, and more.

10th-gen Intel processors?

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We still don’t know what processor generation Google will use in the Pixelbook 2. Given the recent launch of Intel’s 10th-gen Ice Lake processors, and Comet Lake processors, that seems like the best choice for the Pixelbook 2 come 2020, but it is also possible that we’ll see a next-generation Intel chip that launches in 2020, instead.

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 could help the Pixelbook 2 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 2 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.

Could Qualcomm also be an option?

Snapdragon 7c
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Qualcomm has made its way into Always Connected Windows 10 PCs with thanks to the Snapdragon 8cx. However, it was once rumored that Qualcomm could also bring its Snapdragon SoC over to Chromebooks as well.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 SoC was said to be that option for Chromebooks for late 2019. At the time of writing, this has not come to life in an actual product, but Chromeunboxed reports that based on coding in the repositories in Chromium, work does continue on Qualcomm support code-named with a baseboard as “Cheza”. It’s a wild bet, but this could mean that future Chromebooks, and the Pixelbook 2, could be powered by Qualcomm chips.

WiFi 6, Stylus Support, LTE, Thunderbolt 3, and more

We don’t know much about what the Pixelbook 2 will look like, or what specs it will have, but that’s no reason to stop the speculation. As we previously mentioned, coding in Chromium mentions some features in future flagship Chromebooks, and what can be assumed to be the Pixelbook 2 as well. This hints that Google is actively working on tweaking the Chrome OS software for these features.

According to Chromeunboxed, future Chromebooks falling under the “Hatch” code-name could feature NVMe storage, RGB IR sensors, stylus support, WiFi 6, as well as Bluetooth 5 and Thunderbolt 3 support. We already know Google was planning support for Thunderbolt 3, so this wouldn’t be too surprising. Either way, these features will all be appreciated, and sure do sound like something you want in a premium Chromebook like Pixelbook 2.

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. However, as we previously mentioned, we got the Pixelbook Go instead.

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.

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Chuong Nguyen
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