New 'Atlas' Commits Add Weight To Pixelbook 2 Speculation

New commits linked to a Chrome OS device codenamed 'Atlas' and recently spotted in the Chromium Gerrit seem to add weight to mounting speculation that Atlas will be a Pixel-branded Chromebook. The commit points to a unique keyboard layout referred to as "Create," rather than the standard "PC layout." Moreover, that's been primarily replicated from another build called 'Eve' internally which most notably features a dedicated Google Assistant button. Both of those are things which only the current Pixelbook has a claim to. Its keyboard has both a different top row layout from other Chrome OS devices and a dedicated Assistant key for quick access to its A.I. driven tools. Meanwhile, it is also noted in the commit that the keyboard will retain its power button in place of the usual system tray key and that there will be an "extra" Assistant button.

The inclusion of extra buttons has raised further speculation that Atlas will be a detachable Chromebook similar to HP's Chromebook x2 or a new Chrome OS tablet. A full tablet Chrome OS device may seem to make less sense since that would not technically need to ship with a keyboard. However, Google has shipped accessories such as its Pixel-branded stylus separately in the past and that may mean Atlas will be a tablet with a dedicated keyboard attachment available for purchase. That would also seem to be more plausible since "extra" power buttons and Assistant buttons are included on the keyboard. If it's selling as a tablet, the device could already have those buttons around the edges of the display. Having them on the keyboard too would give users more convenient ways to access the buttons with the keyboard attached.

Although all of the rumors and speculation should be taken with a grain of salt, that all compounds with earlier reports which seem to indicated that Atlas will be a Pixel-branded Chrome OS device built by Google. Aside from shipping with a minimum of 8GB of RAM and a 4K resolution display panel, the board used in Atlas is nearly identical to that used in the previous Pixelbook. Commits also seem to suggest there will be two variants of Atlas, including 'Nocturn' and 'Poppy,' which further seem to suggest Atlas is a detachable device in at least one of those builds. In the meantime, Google has a hardware event planned for October 4, recent reports indicate, with new Chrome OS hardware being expected to make an appearance at that happening.

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