Exclusive: Google plans to launch a new Chromebook Pixel, mini version of Google Home alongside new phones
According to a source familiar with the company's plans, Google will launch not just two new Google Pixel phones at a hardware event this fall, but an all-new Pixel-branded Chromebook – the first since the 2015 Chromebook Pixel pictured above – as well as a miniaturized version of its Google Home smart speaker.
At this time, we don't have any specifications for this laptop. However, it seems likely that it was born out of Google's mysterious Project Bison, which we exclusively detailed last year (and, at the time, was scheduled for a Q3 2017 launch). The big difference? Our source is confident that this Pixel will be branded a Chromebook, while Project Bison was originally intended to run a highly-modified version of Android known internally as Andromeda.
Unfortunately, our source is unable to confirm if this is, in fact, the same laptop. We know that Bison was intended as a serious competitor to Apple's MacBook and Microsoft's Surface Pro, with a 12.3" screen, 32 or 128GB of storage, 8 or 16GB of RAM, and an optional Wacom stylus that would be sold separately. Google intended for Bison to be under 10mm thick, and feature a "tablet" mode. We guessed at the time this would be similar in form to the ASUS Chromebook Flip line of laptops, allowing the screen to be rotated a full 360-degrees, making it a true "convertible." We're still not sure what exactly it means.
Google already had plans for retail pricing, suggesting Bison would start at $799. We don't have any new information about that, either. It seems possible that Bison may have evolved into a product with the codename "Eve" that's been showing up a lot in Chromium's code.
Again, it's entirely possible this new Pixel Chromebook isn't Bison. But given Bison was a product we know had been serious planned at one point, it's the best thing we've got to go on for now. But hey, it could be a completely different project – we just don't know. It also seems right in terms of timing: Google waited two years to refresh the original Chromebook Pixel. Still, that's a data set of one.
The second product we've heard will be launched at the event is a miniature version of Google Home. We don't have a price point or really any understanding of the smaller Home's feature set or dimensions. Given the massive popularity of Amazon's Echo Dot, a smaller, cheaper version of Google Home only makes sense. While at $129 I would say Home is fairly reasonably, if you want to fill your house with voice command interfaces, it's easy to see how that could get expensive pretty fast.
We'll let you know more as we learn it.