It has been two years since Google sparked dreams of PC gaming coming to Chromebooks. We’ve yet to hear word on when we’ll be able to frag on Chrome OS, but we now know that work is being done to bring RGB-backlit keyboards to the operating system. And since RGB and gaming go hand in hand, these keyboards could find their way into potential Chromebooks with Nvidia RTX graphics cards.
In April, Nvidia announced that it is working with MediaTek, which makes the SoCs in many Chromebooks, to create a reference platform that supports Chromium and Nvidia SDKs, as well as Linux. In a press release, the GPU maker promised to bring together RTX graphics cards and Arm-based chips to deliver ray tracing “to a new class of laptops.” In 2021, Nvidia demoed RTX on a MediaTek Kompanio 1200, a chip that MediaTek says will be in “some of the biggest Chromebook brands.”
The news came more than a year after Google announced that it was working on bringing Steam to Chromebooks. It doesn’t matter if the laptops have RTX graphics if there are no PC games worth playing on them. There hasn’t been much news on RTX or Steam support since. But at least we know that work is underway on another part of making gaming on Chromebooks a thing: RGB.
9to5Google on Wednesday spotted a new feature flag in the Chromium Gerrit said to “enable support for RGB keyboards on supported devices.” And the flag looks like it will do more than just slap a colorful keyboard onto a Chromebook. It includes per-key color programming and the ability to make your own colors by playing with red, green, and blue values. Currently, developers are testing the RGB features via an internal command, 9to5Google noted.
Three codenamed devices are being associated with the RGB keyboard feature flag. Two are laptops using Intel’s 12th-generation Alder Lake CPUs, and one is from ODM Quanta, which works with companies like HP. The third product, 9to5Google said, appears to be a detachable keyboard.
This news isn’t quite as revelatory as an update on Steam support or RTX on Arm would be, but it does renew hope that developers are still thinking about PC gaming on Chromebooks.