In short: Google’s suspected next-generation Pixelbook tablet, code-named ‘Nocturne,’ has now had its screen resolution bumped up nearly to 4K in a recently spotted change to the Chromium Gerrit. More directly, the change pushes the resolution to 3,000 x 2,000 at a 3:2 display ratio. The development also removes the possibility that this Chrome OS device will support SD card storage expansion, with a flag for SD card support now being set to “false.”
Background: Nocturne is currently one of two Google-built Pixel-branded Chromebooks expected to be revealed on October 9 at the company’s annual hardware event. The other suspected device, codenamed ‘Atlas,’ is expected to be a more traditional clamshell design with a 360-degree hinge while Nocturne is expected to be a dedicated tablet. Atlas won’t support an SD card either but has a 3,840 x 2,160 panel, according to the commits, which would make it a 4K device set at a ratio of 16:9. So this change does create an additional distinction between those two devices in terms of aspect ratio while bringing the two devices closer together in terms of display resolution. In both cases, the changes build on the current iteration of the Pixelbook and its 2,400 x 1,600 resolution.
The change also puts Nocturne a step ahead of the current incoming wave of ‘premium-level’ Chromebooks that have been revealed and will likely continue to be revealed going forward. Google’s own Chrome OS hardware has historically been comparatively pricey and with other Chromebooks catching up in specs, the new resolution may represent just one way the search giant can maintain a leadership position in the market. In the meantime, the Nocturne Pixel device is also expected to have a display that’s much brighter than the standard Chromebook – at previously listed as being “suitable” for a 90 to 250 lux environment at just 47.62-percent. That’s the average lighting in a very well-lit room and could be just one more way Nocturne sets itself apart since the tablet should perform exceptionally in outdoor environments on even the brightest day.
Impact: Bearing in mind that any of the speculations about these devices could turn out to be incorrect, if any of it is true then the expectations will certainly help Google’s Chrome OS solutions continue to serve as a guideline for other OEMs, especially those interested in making premium products. At the end of the day, one of the main points of Pixel-branded hardware is to act as an example of the best available experience, whether in the form of an Android device or Chrome OS build.