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Will Atlas, Nocturne or both be a Pixelbook 2 at the #MadeByGoogle event on October 9?

After weeks of a rumored date for new #MadeByGoogle hardware, the event is October 9 in New York City. Invites went out today, with little information as you’d expect. Of course, there have been plenty of Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL leaks but we’re still trying to piece together what the successor to the Pixelbook will be.



Aside from new phones, clues have to pointed to at least one, if not two, Chromebooks. I’m going to call it/them the Pixelbook 2 for now. We’ll see what official names are announced at the event. With the evidence we have to date — and it can change quickly, of course — it’s highly probable that Google announces a Pixelbook detachable device.

What’s unknown is if that will be the Atlas or Nocturne code-names seen in the Chromium code commit logs for the past few months. Atlas, if you recall, is expected to have a 4K detachable display, a Sony IMX 208 front camera sensor with support for 1080p video, and like the current Pixelbook, won’t have an SD card slot. Nocturne is also a contender but is expected to have a 2400×1600 resolution detachable display and a fingerprint sensor.

The keyboard base for both should have a dedicated Google Assistant key and of course, being newer devices, they’ll run both Android apps as well as Linux apps, via Project Crostini, right out of the box. I’d expect they launch with Chrome OS 70, meaning that availability will be some weeks after the October 9 event.

There is a third option here with the Cheza Chromebook powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip. It too is a detachable and we know it should have excellent battery life due to power packs in both the display and the keyboard base. But based on the progression of Chromium code for Atlas and Nocture — at least one of which is more likely to be ready for imminent launch — I think Cheza is a CES 2019 event in January. It may even be shown off at Qualcomm’s CES booth as a reference design with hardware partners announcing the use of it for their own Chromebooks.

Regardless, we have a few more weeks to speculate and dig around the Chromium code before I head to NYC and see what’s what. Let the guessing continue!

author avatar
Kevin C. Tofel

10 thoughts on “Will Atlas, Nocturne or both be a Pixelbook 2 at the #MadeByGoogle event on October 9?

  1. Sounds like a new Made by Google Chromebook is very likely. Do you thinking Big G’s goal is still to show what’s possible with Chromebook or do you think they’re trying to take their Chromebooks mainstream?

    1. Atlas is supposed to be 4k. That is already announced by Lenovo (the 630). A Nocturne Pixelbook with a detachable screen seems to be a no-brainer.

  2. Thanks for condensing the last few months of rumor posts in to one well-written summary!
    Tell Stacey a random internet stranger says hi. ?

  3. Would anyone actually be interested in a detachable? Seems like a laptop that rotated 360 degrees (ala pixelbook) would be just as good, if not better (no losing/forgetting the keyboard). What are the benefits of a detachable?

    1. It’s a personal preference but I like having a detachable for content consumption: No need for the bulk and weight of a keyboard when streaming YouTube TV, Netflix, etc…. Also better (for me) when reading ebooks and such.

      1. Second that. A detachable would be infinitely better for reading ebooks and PDFs (not to mention solving crosswords) sitting, standing or lying down. Anyway, I’m just happy that the rumors are that Google’s interested in improving the tablet mode experience, detachable or no.

    2. Yes. While both notebooks of the convertible (the 360 degree flippable devices) and the detachable (using a tablet component that can be reversed on its base/keyboard mounts) variety promise great versatility the latter do a better job of delivering on that promise. A consequence of the flippable notebook design is a keyboard that gets more exposed to potentially damaging events like bumps and spills and a package that fails to realise its potential inasmuch as the exposed keys of the keyboard offer a poor surface for holding/handling the notebook when it is in ‘tablet mode’. A detachable (of the type described) has none of those ergonomic shortcomings.

      Convertibles using a different attachment mechanism between the base/keyboard and screen can easily achieve the same ergonomically satisfying results as that of a detachable, e.g. Fujitsu has been making convertible notebooks that flip and rotate on a single central post attachment rather than the more limiting dual hinge design connecting base and screen, for many years. No generalised arguments about the advantages of a convertible vs a detachable or vice versa make any sense. Only looking at the structural characteristics of the specific articulation and attachment/detachment mechanisms and the practical consequences of these for user-device interaction does.

      For computer purchasers who value sound ergonomics in product design (some) detachables will be very popular.

    3. Yes. I use the HP Chromebook X2 all the time and 95% of the time I use it in tablet mode. The keyboard is in my transport bag though. I do electrical engineering, so I am always marking up drawings that I imported into the Squid android app when I go to meetings and when walking around the office. My ideal situation would be a chromebook with detachable backlit keyboard, dual boot with ChromeOS, AndroidOS, and WindowsOS (or is that triple boot :-]), active pen, either large SSD/eMMC memory and/or micro SD card integrated with all OSs, and the all OSs can access the same micro SD card and internal storage (so any OS can access my single point of data if I need to). We homeschool also, so the detachable keyboards help there as well.

  4. The trend towards tablet or detachable may lead to better choices in alternative keyboards. I prefer AI Keyboard on my phone and wish I could have some of it’s features, like shortcuts, and voice-to-text and spell correction and editing.

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