Google may not sell its own Chromebooks anymore, but the company still seems fully committed to ChromeOS. A lot of new features have rolled out in the past, and a big Material You-based redesign is coming soon. To showcase the best Chromebook hardware to go along with ChromeOS, Google is reportedly working on a new “Chromebook X” program meant to collect the best products under one umbrella.
The Chromebook X initiative, spotted by 9to5Google, is supposed to make clearer to customers which ChromeOS-powered laptops are the best of their kind, offering all the latest and greatest features like gaming support through Steam or advanced Linux virtualization options. The new branding is supposed to appear prominently on devices’ exterior, though it’s still unclear if they will actually be called “Chromebook X” or if this is just a placeholder. Right now, it doesn’t look like Google has a device of its own planned, so don’t hold your breath for a Pixelbook successor.
To become part of the program, manufactures will have to fulfill some minimum hardware requirements. Google is said to request a minimum amount of RAM, a good-enough camera for impeccable video conferencing, and potentially a higher-end display. Chromebook X devices also require minimum processor configurations, with AMD Zen 2+ (Skyrim), AMD Zen 3 (Guybrush), and Intel Core 12th Gen (Brya & Nissa) in the mix.
As 9to5Google notes, Nissa chips are usually found in cheaper laptops that cost less than $400, which is why the publication speculates that Chromebook X devices are supposed to target the $350 to $500 range — the sweet spot that many people are interested in, but that’s crowded with way too many options to understand what’s best. Some existing laptops in this range might even be upgraded to become Chromebook X devices, giving them access to a few exclusive features.
As for these features, the publication reports that the Chromebook X devices will be set apart from others with time of day wallpapers that change depending on sunrise and sunset, support for up to 16 virtual desks, improved offline availability for Drive files, and a different retail demo mode. First devices in this program are supposed to launch sometime later this year, with Chrome 115 required as a minimum — which is already under public testing.
If you don’t care for all these fancy features, you can just turn your aging Windows or macOS laptop into a Chromebook, though. This so-called ChromeOS Flex version lacks some features, but it will certainly breathe new life into your older device.