New report says the Pixel C was originally designed to run Chrome OS

Pixel C

Could the Pixel C originally have been designed to be a Chrome OS-based device?

A report from Ars Technica suggests Google’s Android-based laptop-tablet hybrid was only recently repurposed to utilize Android.

According to speculation, in July 2014 the Pixel C started life as a Chrome OS tablet codenamed “Ryu.” The laptop-tablet hybrid’s first design included a USB Type-C port, a powerful NVIDIA Tegra processor, wireless charging and the lightbar that’s featured in other Pixel devices.

The original vision for the Pixel C also reportedly ran a touchscreen version of Chrome OS codenamed “Project Athena.” This version of the Chrome OS reportedly featured an experimental window switcher, swipe gestures and virtual keyboard.

However, according to Ars Technica’s report, the project was cancelled in December of 2014, and the Pixel C was repurposed into a device that more closely resembles the final version of the Pixel C we know today. This decision could be linked to Google’s supposed plan to kill off Chrome OS in the next two to three years, though the company has adamantly denied the operating system is going anywhere.

Back in March 2015, Android slowly became more integrated into Ryu’s operating system. At the time, the team behind the Pixel C were working on a system that had the Pixel C dual-booting Android and Chrome OS. However, this project was cancelled in July 2015.

This is when the Pixel C morphed into a full-fledged Android device, with it being publicly shown off for the first time at Google’s Nexus event in September. Given the relatively short period of time between the Pixel C’s retooling and its launch, the performance issues discussed in many of the device’s early reviews make more sense.

However, multi-window support could be on the horizon according to a recent Reddit AMA the team behind the hybrid device did earlier this week.

Related reading: Pixel C Reddit AMA reveals multi-window support planned for Android N

[source]Ars Technica[/source]