Google may be readying new “Chromebook X” branding for more premium ChromeOS laptops – The Verge

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By Jon Porter, a reporter with five years of experience covering consumer tech releases, EU tech policy, online platforms, and mechanical keyboards.
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Google could be about to launch a new branding initiative for Chromebooks dubbed “Chromebook X,” according to a new report from 9to5Google. The publication has pulled together several code commits referencing the new name, which suggests that the branding could be used for laptops that meet certain spec requirements and allow them to offer exclusive features. One source tells 9to5Google that the first Chromebook X laptops could launch before the end of the year.
Although the ChromeOS operating system is best known for running on affordable laptops used in places like schools, over the years, it’s picked up some higher-end features like support for productivity apps like LumaFusion and the ability to run Linux programs. 9to5Google speculates that the Chromebook X branding could be Google’s way of helping buyers distinguish between a baseline laptop that’s best suited to basic web browsing and office work and a device with a bit more oomph, like HP’s recent Dragonfly Pro Chromebook
Chromebook X laptops could be labeled as such on their chassis and feature a unique boot animation. Internally, they may be required to ship with a certain amount of RAM and a camera and display that meets Google’s specifications. Devices with certain Intel and AMD CPUs may be eligible for the Chromebook X branding, with the inclusion of Intel N-series chips leading 9to5Google to conclude that Chromebook X devices might be available for as little as $350 to $500.
On the hardware side, these kinds of requirements bear some similarities to Intel’s Evo standard. But because Google manages the whole operating system, there are hints that Chromebook X devices might come with exclusive software features. 9to5Google has spotted code commits that suggest features like wallpapers that can change more gradually throughout the course of the day, auto-generated captions for video calls, and a built-in portrait blur effect could be exclusive to Chromebook X devices.
Google has previously designated some Chromebooks as “Plus” or “Premium” to let customers know they offer more storage, faster performance, and better multitasking. But as of this writing, the branding appears to have disappeared from Google’s device directory in the US. Although they’re still live on Google’s UK site, the change suggests the company is making way for new branding.
A spokesperson for Google did not respond to The Verge’s request for comment.
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