In short: A recently submitted commit to the Chromium Gerrit has now effectively confirmed that the Chrome OS device code-named Nocturne will be a dedicated tablet rather than a detachable Chromebook. The commit in question adds the long-suspected Pixelbook to a very select "tablet list" that will allow the device to skip certain sensor orientation tests in tied to Chrome OS camera usage. The only other item on the list, as shown in the file indicated – 'client/site_tests/camera_HAL3/camera_HAL3.py' – is an Acer tablet codenamed "Scarlet." That's the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 launched earlier this year as the world's first dedicated Chrome OS tablet, to be exact.
Background: Leading up to this commit, there has been plenty of rumor and speculation about how Google might bring a Chrome OS tablet bearing Pixel branding to market. While it has already been known for a long time that the new Chromebook would at very least be detachable, it wasn't ascertainable how the search giant was approaching that form factor. There were effectively two choices the company could make if it went that route. It could have been shipped in a format similar to HP's Chromebook x2 detachable with a keyboard either included or as available as an aftermarket accessory. The other option was to center around a more traditional Android tablet, in a fashion similar to the above-mentioned Acer. Since only Scarlet and Nocturne are included in the tablet list, the obvious implication is that the latter of those devices will be a dedicated tablet instead of shipping with a proprietary detachable keyboard. That wouldn't negate the use of a keyboard via a folio-style case or Bluetooth and several premium options on that front are expected soon, including one from Brydge. With that said, can now be said with near certainty that Google will be releasing a tablet at its upcoming hardware event in October. At least one other device, codenamed Atlas, is tentatively expected as well and is predicted to take a more traditional convertible approach to design.
Impact: The new code, meanwhile, is marked as allowing Nocturne to skip the process of checking via sensors in association with the camera software. That may point to checks regarding whether or not whether or not a Chromebook has been flipped into tablet mode or if it's in clamshell orientation. It could also be linked to the existence of more than one camera on-device, as is the case with the Chromebook Tab 10 from Acer. That isn't immediately clear, as of this writing, but it is something that sets Nocturne apart from almost every other device running the operating system.