Further evidence has emerged that Google is actively working on introducing support for dual-booting Chromebooks – and not just its Pixelbook – with a so-called AltOS mode that could potentially allow Chrome OS to sit alongside Windows 10, giving the user the option to boot into either.
The rumor about AltOS first popped up back in April, and was followed by the discovery of code commits pertaining to Google’s Pixelbook which showed that the company is preparing the laptop for Microsoft’s officially approval to run Windows 10.
That last piece of speculation was brought to light in June by XDA Developers, which has now uncovered these fresh details, perhaps the most important of which is that this won’t just pertain to the Pixelbook – it appears Google intends to bring dual-booting to a number of Chromebooks.
According to the new evidence, the AltOS mode will be called Campfire – or at least is being referred to by that name at the moment – and that’ll doubtless immediately bring to mind Apple’s Boot Camp (which lets Mac users run Windows on their machine).
The fresh findings cite multiple mentions of different variants of Campfire, indicating that dual-booting is destined for multiple Chromebooks. Exactly how many notebooks will be supported is still up in the air, but initially, it’ll probably be limited to quite a small set of more cutting-edge Chromebooks (including the Pixelbook, of course). Although Campfire could spread from there, naturally.
Other interesting nuggets here include the assertion that the system will be user-friendly and commendably seamless, not requiring enabling Developer Mode, or demanding users update their firmware manually (Google will push updates automatically).
The facility will, however, require a good amount of storage, which is hardly surprising as another OS is being added into the mix. The most recent evidence suggests that you’ll need a Chromebook with at least 40GB of storage to be able to dual-boot (10GB for Chrome OS, and the rest for Windows). Again, that points to higher-end Chromebook models being the target here.
We could also see Campfire’s release sooner rather than later. XDA Developers theorizes that a hard push in development could lead to the possibility of some kind of demo later this year at Google’s big hardware launch (where we may see a Pixelbook sequel and usually new Pixel phones).
At any rate, whenever the Campfire is lit, it’ll be a welcome extra dose of flexibility for Chromebooks, which are already capable of running Android and Linux apps (with some models).