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The first 4K Chromebook might be in the works

The first 4K Chromebook might be in the works

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Best Chromebook 2021: Google Pixelbook
Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

How many pixels does a Chromebook need? Google’s Pixelbook seems to have plenty, with a 2400 x 1600 resolution stretched across a mere 12.3 inches of LCD.

But what if you want more pixels? Since Google defines the high-end of the Chromebook market right now, you’re out of luck unless you want to try to install an open source flavor of Chrome OS on a regular machine.

Well, a 4K hope is now on the horizon. The Chromium OS source code (which underpins Google’s Chrome OS) just got updated with reference to a machine with a codename of “atlas” and a 3840 x 2160 screen resolution — as seen on XDA Developers. The actual file that mentions this 4K mystery machine is called “boards.yaml,” and it lists different hardware configurations Chromium OS supports. For instance, Google’s Pixelbook goes by the codename “eve,” while Samsung’s Chromebook Plus 2-in-1 is known as “kevin.”

Like the Pixelbook, this 4K “atlas” mystery device doesn’t have an SD card slot, but that’s most of what we know. Reddit user -nbsp-, who spotted this addition, says elsewhere in the code are mentions of a keyboard, touchpad, and touchscreen. While a 4K screen on a laptop makes the most sense for gamers and graphics professionals — two things Chromebooks are historically bad at — it’s also become a fairly standard part on high-end 15-inch laptops of all persuasions.

One nice perk of a screen like this? A 3840 x 2160 resolution means a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is much wider than the Pixelbook’s 3:2 screen. Side-by-side documents? Full-screen Netflix? The future of Chrome OS seems limitless.

Obviously we’re riffing off of a very small amount of information here. Perhaps Google will have some new hardware to show off at Google I/O next month, or perhaps an entirely different manufacturer has 4K plans, or perhaps the Chromium OS developers are just trolling us.

What do we know for sure? This real and / or non-real device definitely won’t have an SD card slot. RIP SD card slots.