Alongside the Google Pixel 2/2 XL, Google announced a high-end Pixelbook device. For some, the fact that the keyboard is not detachable was a disappointment to hear. There has been some speculation earlier this year that Google may launch a set of detachable Chromebooks with the codenames ‘Soraka‘ and ‘Poppy‘ so there may still be some hope. According to the latest commits we discovered on the Chromium gerrit, it appears that these two devices are still in active development.
The commits mention that the two Chromebook devices will support “wake on voice” which allow you to turn on voice recognition using a hotword. Hotword recognition appears to support 39 languages according to the commit. Existing Android device owners will recognize this feature on their own Android smartphones, since the Google Assistant app can be called by saying “Ok Google” or more recently “Hey Google.”
The Soraka detachable Chromebook is already said to be a have a camera flash, dual microphones, and a backlit keyboard. While we haven’t learned many new details on the Poppy model, it will probably end up similar to the Soraka. A few benchmark leaks have pointed to what could be these devices’ hardware specifications, but we remain skeptical of benchmark leaks because they can be manipulated. There have been times when leaks via benchmarks have been accurate, such as with the Razer Phone, but again take them with a grain of salt.
Though these two detachable Chrome OS devices are not yet official, Google has been making progress on Chromebook features that are better suited to a tablet-like device. For instance, Google recently added split-screen support in tablet mode and a new app launcher which makes it easier to launch apps through touch input. With the stagnation in Android tablets, perhaps Google sees a future for tablets in Chrome OS given the operating system’s incredible popularity.