First signs of Google's Tiger Lake-powered Pixelbook for 2021 emerge

Google Pixelboook
Google Pixelboook (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is working on a new Chromebook, codenamed Halvor.
  • Little is known about it at this point, other than it will run on Intel's Tiger Lake platform, feature 3 USB-C ports, and support up to 16GB of RAM.
  • It is expected to launch in 2021.

Google is reportedly working on a new Chromebook, code-named Halvor. If true, it'll be a successor to 2019's Pixelbook Go, and be a powerfully specced productivity machine running on Intel's Tiger Lake Platform. The first hints of the machine were first discovered by the folks over at Chrome Unboxed, who spotted references to the machine codenamed "Halvor" in the Chromium Repository.

Following up on the earlier report, 9to5Google shared their own discoveries about the device over the weekend. saying:

The Chromebook codenamed Halvor is built on a "baseboard" called "Volteer" — another Spyro reference — which uses Intel's upcoming 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors. For comparison, the Pixelbook Go and Pixel Slate use 8th Gen Intel Amber Lake processors.We also know that Halvor will have a keyboard, a touchpad mouse, and a touchscreen. All of these firmly point to either a clamshell-style laptop like the Pixelbook Go or something that also converts to a tablet like the original Pixelbook.Other details about the Chromebook are currently few and far between. In one place, we see the two types of RAM that may be in use, but info is only publicly available for one. From what we can piece together, we believe there should be a model with 16GB of RAM.The only other tidbits we've discovered are some of the ports that Halvor will be equipped with. For instance, we know it will indeed have a 3.5mm headphone port, a feature that has so far only been missing from the Pixel Slate. Also, unlike almost every other Chromebook on the market today, Halvor will have three USB-C ports — possibly with USB 4 support — putting it firmly into the category of productivity laptop.

Those few details from the 9to5 report are all we know about Halvor at this stage. As for a release date, while the folks over at Chrome Unboxed believe it could be coming in 2020, this is unlikely for several reasons. First, as 9to5Google points out, Google starting on things like the keyboard layout at this late stage of the year doesn't provide hope of a launch in October. Second, Google doesn't launch its own branded Chromebooks on a yearly cycle like its phones. The Chromebook Pixel launched in 2013 to be followed up in 2015 by a sequel, which was then followed up by the 2017 Pixelbook, which was then followed up by the Pixelbook Go in 2019. The 2018 Pixel Slate, despite being a Chrome OS device, was a tablet, and so doesn't really count.

Luckily, for Chrome OS aficionados, there isn't a drought of capable and powerful Chromebooks if you're looking for something a little bit higher end. Both Samsung and Asus have produced some of the best Chromebooks in 2020, taking advantage of Intel's Project Athena to bring powerful hardware to an ecosystem that has needed it. A new Pixelbook would be amazing, but it's not necessary for a high-powered Chrome OS experience.

Google Pixelbook Go

Pixelbook Go

2019 wasn't so long ago that the Pixelbook Go has become obsolete. It's still a powerful, well-built machine that has won praise since its release. The higher-end models may be a bit expensive, but buying one at its starting price will give you a good Chrome OS experience in any case.

Michael Allison