The Google Pixelbook is Google’s flagship device for Chrome OS. Released late last year at a $999 starting price, the high-end device costs more than the vast majority of Chromebooks. It’s akin to the Google Pixel 2/Pixel 2 XL for Android. As such, it’s one of the main test-beds for all new Google projects such as running Linux apps via containers or booting Fuchsia OS. Today, it was discovered that there’s another project in the works for the Pixelbook called “AltOS.”
As first spotted by Redditor -nbsp- over on the /r/ChromeOS subreddit, this appears to be a new mode for the Pixelbook. There are a few commits related to this “AltOS mode,” as can be found here and here. At this point, it’s unclear whether or not this will be a method to pick an “alternative OS” (dual-boot) system, a full-fledged operating system, a hint at booting Microsoft Windows natively on the Pixelbook, something related to Fuchsia, or something else entirely. The commits clearly distinguish between Chrome OS and this mysterious “AltOS mode” though, so there’s clearly something really interesting going on here.
The commits referencing “AltOS Mode” raise more questions than answers.
Unfortunately, there is little information about this new mode. It’s likely that most of the commits relating to AltOS are hidden from public view as they are only accessible in the internal Chromium gerrit. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about this as time passes. Given that Google is already working on another operating system that is not-so-secret, we kind of doubt that this is another secretive operating system. It would sure be exciting if it was, though. The most likely explanation for all of this is that it’ll be a system for picking an alternative operating system on boot (hence “Alt” OS) so that perhaps the Pixelbook will support dual booting in the future. We’ll keep you updated if we learn any additional information though.