Back before it became a line of phones, the Chromebook Pixel line was known for setting an example of what a high end Chromebook would look like. The first model had a unique 3:2 aspect ratio, a high-resolution screen and an optional LTE model. That line culminated in the Pixel C, an Android convertible tablet. Since then, ASUS and Samsung seriously stepped up in the design department, with the Samsung Chromebook Plus using a 3:2 aspect ratio screen, Android applications out of the box, and a stylus for note-taking.
Even with those third party options, it appears Google will be releasing its own convertible sometime in the future. Slashgear shared a patent awarded to Google for a laptop with a unique keyboard area. Rather than just opening the screen and seeing the keyboard and trackpad, the user would be greeted by a smooth cover.
Said cover has a hinge that can be opened to reveal the keyboard and trackpad. I'm not sure what Google's intentions are, but one advantage of this may be to provide a smooth surface for users to grip while using the device in tablet mode. I use my Chromebook C302 in tablet mode regularly, and it's always a bit awkward to feel the keys when holding the device. It may seem trivial, but providing a smooth surface for users to hold would greatly benefit the tablet experience for the device. The cover is shown to be held in place by magnets, so it should be easy to open when the user needs to get to the keyboard and touchpad. Another possible use for this surface would be pen input, similar to the Lenovo Yoga Book.
The touchpad itself may be related to another patent Google was awarded for a "highly configurable controller is described that includes a number of different types of control mechanisms that emulate a wide variety of conventional control mechanisms using pressure and location sensitive sensors that generate high-density control information which may be mapped to the controls of a wide variety of devices and software."
ChromeUnboxed has been tracking a new Chrome device from Google with a detachable keyboard. While nothing in this patent suggests the unique keyboard will come to that rumored device, that device is also said to have a fingerprint sensor, a new keyboard layout, and other "firsts" for the Chromebook world. It would make sense for Google to build as many unique features as it can for one "halo" device to serve as an example to third party partners.
Google is likely to hold a hardware event in October to announce the Pixel 2, so that would make for a great venue to announce this new device. We have yet to see any leaks of the device itself, but we will make a post if something does become available.
Would you be interested in a new Google Chromebook Pixel? Let us know down below!
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