The distinctive blue, red, yellow, and green light bar on the Google-branded Chromebook Pixel laptop and Pixel C tablet was a delightful bit of subtle branding, and it’s a shame we haven’t seen it on subsequent models like the Pixelbook. But according to a snippet of code spotted in the Chrome repository, it might be coming back on a future Chromebook machine from Lenovo.
Chrome Unboxed spotted the code controlling the light bar’s integrated battery meter and other animations in the open source Chromium repository, committed for a device with the codename “Lindar.” The battery level indication functionality, a fun part of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel’s implementation, is intact. Further digging indicated that it’s using parts from Lenovo’s primary OEM supplier. Combine the two, and it’s an obvious hint (but far from a confirmation) that an upcoming Lenovo-built Chrome OS device will use Google’s light bar functionality.
At this point the temptation to declare this a new Pixelbook or Google-branded tablet model is high. But as much as I’d like to see something like an upgraded Pixel version of the Lenovo Duet, I’d exercise caution. The “Lindar” device is obviously not complete yet, so it’s entirely possible that it could be modified (or cancelled entirely) before we see it come to fruition. It might also be developed and released, but lacking that telltale light bar—it is an almost entirely decorative additional part, after all. And even if it has the bar, that doesn’t mean it’ll be Google-branded hardware: Chrome Unboxed notes that the bar was also present on the HP Chromebook 11.
That said, Google has shown an increased interest in the branding of that horizontal bar lately. It’s present on the bottom of an Android phone when you activate Assistant with an “okay Google” command, and it was recently spotted on a “Google Exclusive” laptop sleeve from Targus. Unfortunately that sleeve is generic, and its bar is just a sticker. But it does indicate that someone at Google is thinking about this all-but-dead element of device branding.
We’ll be keeping an eye out for any new Chromebooks or Chrome OS tablets with that extra bit of bling in the near future.