Chromebooks could get another feature from Windows laptops

Some premium Windows laptops have a nifty feature that can detect your presence and lock the screen for your security, or even track you to improve your digital wellbeing. It’s something that current ChromeOS devices don’t yet support, but there’s now an indication, spotted by Chrome Unboxed, that it might already be in the works for a new Chromebook model.

This is all powered by a listing in the Chromium repository that mentions “body detection” for a Chromebook that goes by the name “Crota”. This Chromebook apparently has the 12th Gen Intel Alder Lake processor and could arrive in early 2023. Added to this speculation is that @wistron is attached to the email domain in the list, which Chromeunboxed typically finds associated with the Dell’s involvement in a project.

So which Dell Chromebook could come with this body detection feature? Well, speculation is that it could be an Inspiron Chromebook model, although that’s uncertain since a flagship Dell Chromebook hasn’t been released for two years. Chrome Unboxed reports that there are a total of three additional Chromebooks from Dell being worked on with 12th Gen Intel processors, so this could be one of those models. These are codenamed “Gimble”, “Primus”, and “Banshee”.

Again, much of this is largely based on speculation, and nothing has been made official yet. Google, however, appeared to tease this technology in March 2021. While celebrating the 10th anniversary of Chromebooks, the company mentioned “using our artificial intelligence technology to proactively help people, integrating sensor technologies for more personalized experiences” as one of the things to come in the next 10 years on new hardware.

Chromeunboxed also discovered listings in the Chromium repository for auto-lock and snoop detection. These two features may possibly be related to body detection, but that’s uncertain at this point. It’s also unclear exactly how ChromeOS might use these features to its advantage, or if additional sensors will be involved. If the technology works on Windows laptops, it could depend on the webcam and infrared sensors, but that’s just a guess.

Chromebooks do have privacy screens though, making it harder for someone to see what’s on your screen. The HP Elite c1030 incorporates this technology, so there’s interest in increased privacy and security features in the Chromebook space.

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