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Chromebook with a Google Assistant key and fingerprint sensor may be in the works

Google appears to be bringing some big new features to Chromebooks, starting with a still-in-development model codenamed “Eve.” The two biggest additions are support for a fingerprint sensor and the Google Assistant. But the device is also expected to have improved trackpad tech and one of Intel’s Kaby Lake processors.

The details come from the site Chrome Unboxed, which has been closely tracking Eve’s progress through public comments left by Chrome OS developers. The site first discovered evidence of Eve last October. Since then, it’s found a wealth of details, including evidence that the device will be a convertible with a 2400 x 1600 touchscreen display at a 3:2 aspect ratio, a backlit keyboard, and stylus support.

It’s still not clear which company is actually making this Chromebook, nor when it’ll be released. Details were similarly leaked by Google last year about a Chromebook that went under the codename “Kevin,” which turned out to be one of the two devices Samsung unveiled in January. Both were made in close collaboration with Google, and that seems to be the case with whichever company is developing Eve, too — assuming it isn’t Google itself (it’s been a long time since the last Chromebook Pixel).

While a lot of features have leaked, it’s still not entirely clear how they’ll be implemented. Chrome Unboxed found evidence that Eve will include a button or keyboard shortcut to trigger the Google Assistant, as well as evidence of the device being able to wake up after receiving a voice command. But there’s no signs of what you’ll be able to do with Google Assistant; and thus far, the Assistant has operated a little bit different on every device.

Another feature Chrome Unboxed found is support for a double-tap response, so that when you tap the device twice while it’s closed, it’ll do something. A similar feature was used to make the Chromebook Pixel’s battery monitor light up. But the Eve doesn’t appear to have a battery monitor, so this function will seemingly be used for something else.

Altogether, the comments Chrome Unboxed has found show Eve shaping up to be a flagship Chromebook, with top of its class hardware and features. That’ll pit it against Samsung’s quite-good Chromebook Plus and its unfortunately flawed Chromebook Pro. But fancy new features aside, Eve will have to avoid the same technology troubles that the Pro runs into: Intel’s processors aren’t as well-suited to running Android apps, and the situation still hasn’t gotten much better.

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