New commits recently spotted in the Chromium Gerrit repository seem to all but guarantee that there will be two variations on this year's Google-branded Pixelbook Chromebooks, code-named 'Atlas' and 'Nocturne.' Both Chrome OS devices have been in and out of the news for some time now and Atlas itself was already discovered to have quite a few characteristics in common with the current Chromebook last week. Most notably, it shares design aspects with and is explicitly based on the previous Pixelbook model – Eve – with both being built on a board referred to as 'Krabbylake.' That's a codename thought to have been derived from eight-generation Intel Kabylake processors the build is centered around. Now, a new commit in the code review shows that developers are enabling virtual machines on both Nocturne and Atlas via a single commit designated for Krabbylake.
The second new commit adds further weight to the prediction that the difference between the two expected Pixelbooks will be in terms of form factor. That's tied in with a commit pointing to a keyboard referred to as 'Whiskers' which is connected to the main board via USB and features a touchpad mouse. It points specifically to Nocturne and to a bug that causes the Linux kernel device manager, called 'udev,' to remap the keyboard and mouse when it's connected. The commit is intended to begin work on solving that particular bug. However, it's the fact that this is a keyboard and mouse combination device is what suggests Nocturne will be a detachable Chrome OS device.
It isn't unusual for two Chromebooks to get the same features around the same time – in this case, a virtual machine to be tested with Linux apps. However, it is unusual for the features to arrive in a single commit for multiple devices. The indication seems to be that these devices will be related a lot more deeply than just the underlying hardware or architecture. If Atlas is a new Google Pixelbook for 2018, Nocturne almost certainly will be as well. Google could intend to offer something geared toward a lower price point with one or the other but that doesn't seem to be the case. It also wouldn't make a lot of sense since the search giant's Chromebooks are generally held to be and touted as the best available Chrome OS device. So the implication here is that Google is working on two best-in-class Pixelbooks aimed at very different audiences.