Initially announced at the I/O 2016 Developer Conference, Google has recently added the capability to natively run Android applications on Chrome OS. The company is also said to be working on a hybrid Chrome+Android operating system codenamed ‘Andromeda’ for the past couple of years. But it seems the development and addition of new features to the Chromebooks isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Google is said to be currently working on bringing ‘Wake on Voice’ support to the Gru baseboard, reports ChromeUnboxed. The evidence of its existence has been spotted by the publication in two new Chromium commits. Chrome OS on already available Chromebooks already has the ‘OK Google’ functionality, which can be accessed from the Search menu only when the machine is turned on. However, the addition of a keyword to wake a Chromebook device from it sleep state.
For those unaware, Gru is the codename for the baseboard, which is a new Rockchip RK3399 device, used in Chromebooks. This chip is now in mass production and packs in a dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 processor with quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and an ARM Mali-T864 GPU. The Gru baseboard also supports DSP (digital signal processor) which makes it feasible to implement the always-listening keyword.
The addition of the said keyword to wake a Chromebook from its sleep state will bring the functionality of the device another step closer to Android. The second Chromium commit confirms the use of ‘OK Google’ as an always-listening keyword but there is currently no mention of what it will exactly be used for.
We can surely expect it to extend the functionality of search but Google could be gearing up to introduce its uber-smart ‘Assistant’ on Chrome OS very soon. The tech behemoth is currently planning to set up its own brand and launch products packed with the virtual assistant, also available within its messaging app Allo.
In addition, Gru is the same baseboard which will power the upcoming Samsung Chromebook Pro. Thus, the said Chromebook could end up shipping with ‘Wake on Voice’ enabled by default. We might not have to wait much longer to finally see the use of the said feature realized in Samsung’s Chromebook offering.