Google Might Be Tinkering With a Dual-Screen Chromebook

This is just a Pixelbook with two screens, and not quite what the rumoured device would be. But we can dream. (Image: Gizmodo)
This is just a Pixelbook with two screens, and not quite what the rumoured device would be. But we can dream. (Image: Gizmodo)

One screen? Pfft. In the past few years, we’ve seen plenty of dual-screen laptops and even some folding phones. Now, it would appear that Google is also experimenting with a Chrome OS gadget that has two touchscreens and a trackpad.

The device, which is codenamed “Palkia”, was first reported by 9to5 Google. Palkia is described in Chromium as having a touch screen in the lid and base. There are also other tidbits that specifically lists the components (including the trackpad), as well as code that indicates the Palkia gadget has a tablet mode.

Again, this isn’t terribly surprising. Dual screens are a concept that companies have been tinkering with for years now. The HP Omen X2S, the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, and the forthcoming (but delayed) Surface Duo and Surface Neo are just some recent examples. Would it be out of the realm of possibility for Google to release a dual-screen Chromebook? Absolutely not.

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That said, the tidbits found in code are a lot like patents. It’s more a sign a company is toying with an idea than definitive proof a gadget will come to market. Sometimes they come true, sometimes they don’t, and sometimes long after you’ve given up caring, a company will pop up introducing the rumoured gadget or feature as if it were saying, ‘Yoohoo! Remember this?’ That was definitely the case with native sleep tracking on the Apple Watch, which was long-rumoured and found in tidbits of iOS 14 code back in March. However, it wasn’t until this past WWDC 2020 that Apple announced it was in fact, a thing that was coming to Apple Watches.

In this case, 9to5 Google reports that Palkia seems to be a proof of concept device based on two Chromium developer comments that indicate “Palkia is not an OEM device.” Meaning, if a dual-screen Chromebook does exist, it’s likely an early-stage prototype. It’s also not explicitly clear what that second display would look like on a final product or how Chrome OS would even work in that instance. In any case, it’s something worth keeping an eye on — though you probably shouldn’t start saving up quite yet.