Chrome OS tipped for a refresh with pending reveal of new gaming-focused Chromebooks
Chromebooks were never meant for gaming, and the idea of gaming-focused Chromebooks raises a few questions. Most games are understandably very heavy on both the GPU and CPU, two things that are severely underpowered in most Chromebooks.
There are Chromebook detachables that provide a good Android gaming experience, but these seem like an added bonus rather than a focus for the device. Leveraging game streaming services like Google Stadia and GeForce Now, Chromebook users have also had access to mainstream PC games, but getting full games from Steam running on these devices has always been a pipe dream.
However, this could change with a report of 9to5Googlerevealing three codenames for what they believe are gaming Chromebooks due to the presence of RGB keyboards on all three.
Chromebooks have been with us for a long time, nearly a decade, but none boast an RGB keyboard or even a discrete GPU capable of playing PC games natively.
9to5Google first discovered a new RGB keyboard flag in Chrome OS, but further research revealed that the feature was associated with a specific trio of Chromebook codenames. The per-key RGB lighting flag can be found with the Chromebook codenames Vell, Taniks, and Ripple.
The first two Chromebooks feature 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake processors and are said to be an HP Omen and Lenovo Legion Chromebook respectively. The final codename is more mysterious. It’s identified as a detachable, but there are no clear indicators as to which manufacturer is making the Chromebook.
The report reveals that each key on the keyboard can be individually customized according to the user’s wishes to change the intensity of red, green and blue lighting to create different colors and adjust the overall brightness of the keyboard backlight. Currently, this is still only possible via an internal command for Chrome OS developers in testing. However, 9to5google believes that over time there will be a tool in Chrome OS to allow gamers to change the colors of their keyboards.
Chromebooks have been with us for a long time, nearly a decade, but none boast an RGB keyboard or even a discrete GPU capable of playing PC games natively. This further bolsters the theory that the RGB keyboards being developed are intended for fully committed gaming Chromebooks.
Plus, limited hardware isn’t the only thing holding Chromebooks back from playing games. Chromebooks run on Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system. That means you can’t just fire up Steam and play through your Windows PC’s library. This may change in the future.
Chrome OS developers said they’ve been working to bring Steam to Chrome OS, with help from Valve. There is also a project named Borealis that has been in development to run Steam and other Linux compatible PC games in a virtual machine on Chromebooks.
AndroidPolice estimates that Borealis could be launched in the coming weeks. Despite the various leaks and findings, Google has yet to release a statement regarding Steam games coming to Chromebook. It’s believed that Steam will be a permanent addition to the Chrome OS settings menu, and the game client might even come pre-installed on compatible Chrome OS devices.