There is now more evidence that (keyboard) detachable Chromebooks are currently being designed, which center around implementing a menu function to the recovery boot menu for Chrome OS devices without a keyboard. This is a perfectly sensible thing to consider should manufacturers be working on releasing a Chrome OS tablet device with an optional, detachable keyboard because currently, Chrome OS assumes that all devices have a physical keyboard. However, previously discovered evidence referred to a comment rather than a commit in the underlying Chrome OS code but at the very end of 2016, a developer discovered a handful of changes to the Chrome OS code around adding a menu to the recovery boot screen for detachable devices.
Most of the discovered changes refer to options for the recovery or developer boot mode screens, which would fit in with designing a Chrome OS tablet device. Currently, a number of different key combinations are necessary to put a Chromebook into developer mode, but these could not be performed without a physical keyboard attached to a device. Android devices currently use a scrollable cursor that may be moved up and down the device using volume and selected using the lock or power button, and it would be logical for a Chrome OS tablet to use a similar control arrangement especially as we might not expect there to be many other physical keys on a Chrome OS tablet.
Google’s Chrome OS platform has seen much development in the last two years, but this remains as an ongoing and unfinished project as we enter 2017. Google has introduced the Google Play Store onto the platform and many Chromebooks will be receiving the ability to run Android applications on the device. This has necessitated a change in how Chromebooks manage their operating systems as Android applications will essentially run over the Linux base of the Chromebook rather than over the Chrome OS operating system. There are a number of convertible models being introduced whereby the device can be operated in a mode without a keyboard by folding the keyboard away and behind the screen. Manufacturers and developers are working on the introduction of Chrome OS tablet devices, which could be a compelling alternative to an Android tablet: the ability to run Android applications plus Chrome OS’ productivity features may well reinvent Google’s appeal for the Microsoft Surface or Apple iPad Pro market.