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Google might be working on a 4K Chromebook codenamed Atlas

Can a 4K display be enough to differentiate a Chromebook from a lineup of Windows laptops?

  • Published: April 5, 2018 3:44 PM IST
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Google launched the Pixelbook alongside its 2017 Pixel smartphones in October last year. The Pixelbook is the most advanced and expensive laptop running Google’s Chrome OS yet. One of the major features of the Pixelbook is its 12.3-inch LCD display with a resolution of 2400 x 1600 pixels. But what if you are not pleased with all those pixels already offered by the Pixelbook? Google might have an answer in works.

Google’s Chrome OS is extremely popular in the United States and it is a hit especially in the education segment where a number of OEMs have populated the market with low-end devices. However, the high end of the Chromebook market right now is dominated by Google alone. So if you are planning to get a Chrome OS-based notebook with a 4K display then you are definitely out of luck, at least for now. The Chromium OS source code which got updated just now includes a reference to a machine code-named “Atlas” which might support a 4K display with the resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels.

The reference was spotted by XDA Developers in an actual file where this mystery machine is called boards.yaml and it lists different hardware configurations supported by Chromium OS. In this list, the Google Pixelbook goes by the codename “eve” while Samsung’s Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 is known as “kevin”.

While the full features and specifications of this mystery 4K device named atlas is not yet known, it has been confirmed that it will lack support for an SD card slot. Redditor -nbsp- says the codes for the device mentions a keyboard, touchpad and touchscreen.

There are no significant upsides of having a 4K display on a Chrome OS based device. Google’s Chrome OS is essentially a browser serving up progressive web applications and other services within the Chrome browser. A 4K display makes great sense for gamers and graphics professionals, which is definitely not a feature supported by Chrome OS. However, the 4K display has become standard on high-end notebooks with 13-inch or 15-inch displays. The resolution also suggests that Google is switching from the currently supported 3:2 aspect ratio on the Pixelbook to the wider 16:9 aspect ratio.

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Most people use Chrome OS devices for viewing documents side by side or full-screen Netflix videos on the go. The switch to the wider aspect ratio will help both of those things and Google might actually launch the device at Google I/O next month. There is also a possibility that Google is working with an OEM partner who has plans to bring 4K to the Chromebook. It is not clear whether this is real device or not but it definitely won’t have as SD card slot. Also the bump in resolution will also hike the price and it will necessarily come down to whether you prefer Windows or Google’s always-connected approach with Chrome OS.

  • Published Date: April 5, 2018 3:44 PM IST