Will the Pixel Slate, aka: Nocturne, dual boot into Windows 10 or Linux?

I read this intriguing post at 9to5 Google over the weekend, suggesting that the Nocturne tablet– which is reportedly going to be called the Pixel Slate — may have the dual boot functionality thanks to Campfire:

A commit from July we found seems to indicate that the second Chromebook Windows 10 is being tested on is ‘Nocturne‘, the device in Chromium that we’re fairly confident is the to-be-announced Google Pixel Slate.

and

This commit does not necessarily mean the Google Pixel Slate will launch with dual-boot capability. It does, however, mean that if and when Windows 10 support is officially announced for certain Chromebooks (this is still more-or-less a secret project), the Google Pixel Slate is likely among them.

I’m not too sure about that, although, in fairness, 9to5 Google indicates that it’s likely the dual boot feature will originally be available on the Pixelbook, which I agree with. The idea is that due to a code commit back in July, Nocturne could gain the feature in the future.

That’s a possibility, of course. So could many other high-end Chrome devices though, such as the Lenovo Chromebook Yoga 14, Acer Chromebook and Chromebook Spin 13 or the Dell Inspiron 14, which could be the other “certain Chromebooks” mentioned. I wouldn’t be surprised at all by that.

Here’s the thing: That Nocturne commit from July is the only one I could find, after a few hours of digging, that relates to Windows. It seems like someone was testing the feature by kicking the tires or the idea was to try the function on a Chrome OS tablet. All other code for this project is in a build called “eve-campfire”, meaning that Project Campfire is being developed for Eve, which is the code name of the current Pixelbook.

Pixelbook angled

There’s another telling aspect here as well. Recently, Google updated the boot screen keyboard commands and menu options for dual booting. From what I can see so far, all of those commands require the keyboard. That’s different from getting into boot menus on other Chrome OS tablets which have specific power and volume button commands to reset, recover or get into Developer Mode.

Yes, Nocture will work with Chrome OS keyboards, but so does the HP Chromebook X2 — with one keyboard, that is — for example, yet it has the power and volume button commands. That’s likely because Google can’t guarantee the X2, or any detachable tablet, really, will be attached to a keyboard at boot time.

Again, dual booting could come to Chrome tablets and Chromebooks in the future. I’m all for it if that happens. I think, however, we’d see far more evidence in the code commits by now to even consider it happening in the near future. And it’s likely easier and quicker for Google to bring the feature to other Chromebooks before it does the same to Chrome tablets.

15 thoughts on “Will the Pixel Slate, aka: Nocturne, dual boot into Windows 10 or Linux?

  • September 30, 2018 at 2:33 pm
    Permalink

    Someone please tell Google to quit messing with the Chromebook!! At least make a Chromebook Classic for those of us who want just their simple laptop back!

    Reply
    • September 30, 2018 at 2:41 pm
      Permalink

      I get your point, but none of these new features (Android apps, Linux containers or dual booting) are required. You have to enable them so if you want the base Chrome OS functionality, you can easily have it.

      Reply
      • September 30, 2018 at 6:23 pm
        Permalink

        Except that I have dedicated Assistant buttons on keyboard and stylus that are useless with Android disabled. For example.

        Reply
        • September 30, 2018 at 6:26 pm
          Permalink

          The stylus would be useless, but it’s not like you’re paying extra for on some devices. If you bought it for the Pixelbook, then one assumes you bought it for Android apps. 😉 The Assistant button works without Android: Assistant is part of Chrome OS, no?

          Reply
          • September 30, 2018 at 6:58 pm
            Permalink

            It works in Keep and other non-Android apps. 🙂 Assistant with disabled Android just displays message that Assistant was disabled by my administator.
            Which is BTW still much better than before when it opened an always-on-top blank Assistant window which was practically impossible to get rid of without logging out of the whole session. Was always great to hit it the key by mistake.
            tl;dr I share Anne’s desire to keep things simple and the creep of vendor locked features into Chrome OS makes me nervous for quite a while now. Wondering how the android keyboard support will be implemented, for example.

          • September 30, 2018 at 7:00 pm
            Permalink

            Interesting! Do you have a Pixelbook? My understanding is that Assistant is native in Chrome OS on it with other devices getting support. I’ll have to disable Android on my Pixelbook and try it.

          • September 30, 2018 at 7:04 pm
            Permalink

            Yep, i7 Pixelbook. Highly recommend trying using it without Android. Not sure whether it got better recently but it saved couple hours of battery life last time I’ve tried.

  • September 30, 2018 at 3:04 pm
    Permalink

    To some extent, I have to agree with Anne. I spent the first half of my computing career on Windows, with some Linux dabbling. Then I got smarter and switched to Apple. After 15 years of that, I retired and the KISS principle started meaning even more, so I switch to a Pixelbook and Android phone. All I want is Chrome OS…as simple as that sounds. I realize I have to enable other features, but adding all these extras (that may not be desired by all users) drives up the hardware cost.

    Reply
    • September 30, 2018 at 3:07 pm
      Permalink

      Totally valid point. Yes, this does mean that there will be more high-end Chromebooks to have hardware that supports the extra features. Google’s hardware partners won’t be killing off low- to mid-range devices though: That would be completely counter to the education market, for example, that Chromebooks have made huge gains in. I look at this more of an expansion of device hardware and capabilities across a wide range of price points rather than the range of Chromebook costs all going up. We’ll have to see how it sorts out!

      Reply
    • September 30, 2018 at 3:11 pm
      Permalink

      Exactly, and thank you.

      Reply
      • September 30, 2018 at 3:13 pm
        Permalink

        I meant the Exactly, thank you comment for Larry. Placement is important.

        Thank you, Larry.

        Reply
        • September 30, 2018 at 3:14 pm
          Permalink

          🙂

          Reply
    • September 30, 2018 at 5:00 pm
      Permalink

      Last time I checked, Windows wasn’t free of charge either.

      Reply
  • September 30, 2018 at 3:08 pm
    Permalink

    Detachables would finally make sense: to buy different layout keyboards for different OS.

    Reply
  • October 1, 2018 at 7:36 pm
    Permalink

    Just let me droll over the possibility of using Inkscape with ChromeOS or Debian on a tablet…

    (Not asking for much, I know…)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.