Detachable Chromebook 'Nocturne' Gets Factory Image Builder

Google Pixelbook AH NS 06 logo

A new commit in the Chromium Gerrit now indicates that the suspected Google-branded Pixelbook replacement known as ‘Nocturne’ may be ready for release over the next couple of months. The code adds a factory image builder that, as the name implies, builds out a factory image. In short, that’s effectively a snapshot of the system’s underlying firmware and used for more comprehensive testing, representing one of the final stages of the development process. If everything goes smoothly, Nocturne could be ready for deployment to a final product relatively quickly. Not only does that mean a new detachable Chromebook may soon be on the market. The timing of this commit further suggests that Nocturne should be ready to ship within a reasonable timeframe following Google’s expected October hardware event.

Setting that aside, other Chromium Gerrit changes reported over the past several months have offered plenty of reasons to believe that Nocturne will be just one of two Google Chromebooks. The second of the two suspected Google Pixelbook replacements has flown under the codename ‘Atlas’ and seems to be a standard clamshell-style Chrome OS device. Both devices have been explicitly shown as having been built starting from a board called ‘Krabbylake’ which was based on the original Pixelbook’s ‘Eve’ board. Commits surrounding that board suggest that a Kaby Lake Y processor will be used in the final build, which would definitely fit the base performance requirements for a new Pixelbook. Moreover, the specifications indicated in testing appear to point to that CPU being backed up by a minimum of 8GB of RAM. That’s coupled with a much higher display resolution than what is usually used in Chromebooks and a custom keyboard layout which seems to be similar to the current Pixelbook’s unique setup.

As of this writing, there hasn’t been any indication yet as to whether Nocturne’s counterpart Chromebook, Atlas, will be getting its own factory image builder in the foreseeable future. The two devices do seem inexplicably related but if there are going to be two Pixelbooks launched this year, the final testing phases for Atlas will probably crop up in the commits soon enough. Google has historically launched new devices within a month of announcing them so the team working on the device will likely want to get that process started as quickly as possible.