Update Oct 11: Tech site 9to5Google posted high-res images of what is believed to be a prototype of the Pixelbook Go, just days before Google's hardware event (Oct 15). The site also confirmed the full specs of Google's next Chrome OS device.
It's been two years since Google released the $999 Pixelbook, the third-generation of its Pixel Chromebook laptops. At the time, the Pixelbook was the most expensive Chromebook on the market. But as Chromebooks grew in popularity, brands like HP, Lenovo and Acer experimented with their own premium Chrome OS devices. Given this renewed competition and how long its been since Google released a new laptop, we could see the Pixelbook 2 in the near future.
So far, rumors suggest Google's next laptop won't be the Pixelbook 2, but will instead be named the Pixelbook Go. Appearing in multiple leaks over the past few months, the Pixelbook Go will likely supersede the Pixelbook as Google's flagship Chrome OS-based laptop.
Here is everything we know about the Pixelbook Go, or Pixelbook 2, along with a few things we hope to see in Google's next Chrome OS laptop.
Enter the Pixelbook Go?
According to a report from 9to5Google, the next Pixelbook might not be the Pixelbook 2, but the Pixelbook Go. If this story holds up, the new Pixelbook will have a traditional clamshell design, much like the Pixelbook before it.
9to5Google later posted high-resolution images of what the site believes to be a prototype of the Pixelbook Go. Those pictures show a grippy pink "ribbed" button panel on the Pixelbook Go, along with a smooth silver lid and a MacBook-like deck. The clamshell notebook also features dual, top-firing speakers, a 2MP webcam and far-field microphones for picking up "Hey, Google" commands. You can read more about the Pixelbook Go's design in our standalone post then cut straight to 9to5Google's image gallery.
Pixelbook 2 Release Date and Possible Pricing
A recent FCC filing suggests the Pixelbook Go will arrive this year, which means it will almost certainly feature at Google's October 15 special event. The "Made by Google" event is also where we'll first see the company's new Pixel 4 smartphone.
That timeline aligns with historical data. The original Chromebook Pixel was released in 2013, followed by the 2nd-Gen Chromebook Pixel in 2015 and the current Pixelbook in 2017. See the trend?
We don't know how much the Pixelbook 2 will cost but if Google keeps the same pricing structure as its previous Chromebooks, expect the new model to start at around $1,000.
Pixelbook 2 Design and Specs
Google has yet to confirm any details about the rumored Pixelbook 2, but we already have a good idea of its specs based on several leaks.
9to5Google posted a full specs sheet on the Pixelbook Go, after uploading high-res images of a prototype. Based on the leak, the Pixelbook Go will have a 13.3-inch, 1080p or 4K display along with either a Core m3, Core i5 or Core i7 CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage. The laptop will also feature dual speakers, a Titan C security chip and two USB-C ports.
After the less-than-stellar launch of the Pixel Slate, Google announced that its next Pixel laptop/tablet would give business users "productivity on the go," according to 9to5Google. What exactly that device will look like is unclear, but we do know that it won't be a tablet as Google is abandoning its tablet plans to focus on laptops.
Credit: About Chromebooks
Earlier, the Pixelbook Go was apparently revealed in a video leaked in the Chromium Bug Tracker (via About Chromebooks). The device in the video appears to be a traditional clamshell laptop with rounded corners, which would be a departure from the Pixelbook, a convertible 2-in-1.
And while a glimpse of the keyboard shows keys that look similar to those on the current Pixelbook, the display's 16:9 aspect ratio would be another surprising change.
Credit: Chrome Unboxed
Another leak appeared in the Bug Tracker a few months later with an image of what appears to be a new Google Chromebook. As Chrome Unboxed notes, the mystery device has slimmer side display bezels than the current Pixelbook but the same general design. Some silver trim around the display suggests the device is made of aluminum.
Finally, in September, 9to5Google got its hands on two more alleged images (see above) of the Pixelbook 2 that show its thin bezels and 4K (3840 x 2160 resolution) display.
What We Want from the Google Pixelbook 2
Longer battery life
Less than 8 hours of battery life just isn't going to cut it, especially not for a Chromebook. The Pixelbook powered down after 7 hours and 43 minutes on our battery life test, which puts it behind a handful of competitors. In its defense, the Pixelbook has a gorgeous 2400 x 1600-resolution display. But as an ultraportable laptop meant to be taken out of the office, the Pixelbook should really last longer on a charge.
Slimmer display bezels
Narrow display bezels are now a mandatory feature for modern premium laptops. The current Pixelbook's thick bezels were an eyesore when the laptop was released two years ago, and now make the Pixelbook look downright antiquated next to any new laptop.
Google has been criticized for not fully embracing the edge-to-edge screen on its Pixel phones, but it can't afford not to on the Pixelbook 2 now that every major laptop manufacturer has adopted the feature.
Google isn't the only company selling premium Chromebooks anymore. Still, the current Pixelbook's $999 sticker price makes it a tough sell. Google released the more affordable Pixel Slate earlier this year, but it's not much cheaper than the Pixelbook, at $599 for just the tablet and $798 with the keyboard. Google is a premium brand and prices its products accordingly. However, we hope Google takes the approach that it made with Pixel 3/Pixel 3a and offers an affordable base model Pixelbook 2.
A U-series CPU could hurt battery life, but the performance boost we've seen over Y-series CPUs (like those in the Pixelbook) is worth the endurance tradeoff. Chrome OS is such a lightweight operating system that it doesn't necessarily require the beefiest components, but with Android apps now supported, that extra performance bump wouldn't go to waste. Plus, other Chromebooks (like the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630) pack Intel Core U-series CPUs for much less than the current Pixelbook.
Touch functionality is especially important for Chromebooks now that Chrome OS supports Android apps. And yet, Google didn't include a stylus with the Pixelbook, and instead forced customers to spend another $99 on the Pixelbook Pen.
We hope Google throws in the pen next time so people can take full advantage of Chrome OS' touch-friendly interfaces.
The Pixelbook didn't have a fingerprint sensor, but the Pixelbook 2 almost certainly will. How do we know that? Because this super convenient sign-in feature debuted on the Pixel Slate, the very first Chrome OS device with fingerprint support. The authentication feature worked like a charm on the Slate, so there's no reason for Google not to include it on its next flagship laptop.