Google Pixelbook Windows 10 certification could be coming

Chris Davies - Jun 13, 2018
Google Pixelbook Windows 10 certification could be coming

Google could be working on Windows 10 for Pixelbook support, with the Chromebook getting official compatibility with Microsoft’s OS. Launched late last year, the Pixelbook is Google’s latest Chrome OS notebook but, though the initial response was generally positive, some insisted it was a missed opportunity too.

Indeed, as we wrote here ourselves, in many ways the Pixelbook hardware would make an ideal Windows 10 or macOS notebook. The combination of speedy components in a sleek, highly portable form-factor demonstrates that Google knows how to make a handsome and flexible laptop, after all. We just wanted something other than Chrome OS running on it.

Various hacks to do just that followed, but now it appears that an official route to get at least one third-party OS onto the Pixelbook is in the pipeline. Earlier this year there were reports of an alternative operating system being prepared for the notebook, and now XDA-Developers suggests that’s Microsoft’s Windows 10.

Their prediction is based on a number of things, not least mentions of the Windows Hardware Certification Kit and Windows Hardware Lab Kit in various recent Pixelbook code reviews and commits. That would imply that this isn’t just some internal project to get Windows 10 running relatively smoothly on the Pixelbook hardware. Instead, it appears as though Google is looking to get its notebook to the point where it could be certified under Microsoft’s Hardware Compatibility Program.

Were that the case, it would mean the Pixelbook could ship with Windows 10 preinstalled, just as notebooks from Lenovo, Acer, and others do. For buyers, it would mean the guarantee of drivers so that the Pixelbook’s USB ports, touchscreen, webcam, and other hardware components would all play nicely with Windows software.

While Windows on a Chromebook might sound like anathema at first glance, there are some good reasons why Google might be considering it. For a start, it would instantly address lingering criticisms that Chromebooks have faced from the start, that Chrome OS lacks the full range of apps and services to make it a realistic replacement to a Windows or macOS notebook. A dual-booting Pixelbook, however, could switch between the power-efficiency and ease of use of Chrome OS, while still giving Windows 10 support for those who have specific app needs.

Whether Google will actually go the whole hog and release this Windows-compatible software remains to be seen, of course.

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