Chrome OS RGB Keyboard Support at Gaming Chromebooks

RGB keyboard support appears to be in the works for Chrome OS, and nothing says “gaming” quite like RGB, suggesting there may be some gaming Chromebooks on the way.

A feature flag for enabling RGB keyboard support appeared in Chrome OS, 9to5Google reports. The description of the flag is quite simple: “Enable RGB Keyboard support on supported devices.” While that could mean the feature would support external keyboards plugged into a Chromebook, a number of device codenames are also associated with the feature flag.

Those codenames are Vell, Taniks, and Ripple. The first two may be coming from Quanta, which has designed Chromebooks for other brands, while the third appears to be a codename for a detachable keyboard, according to 9to5Google. One person working on Vell’s development has also been linked to previous devices from HP.

Chromebooks have supported gaming in one form or another for some time. Android apps work on Chromebooks, as do cloud gaming services like Stadia and Nvidia GeForce Now.

Adding RGB keyboard support to Chromebooks could still entice gamers who are planning to play through streaming services, but there have been other efforts for gaming natively on these PCs. Google has expressed a desire to get Steam running on Chromebooks, and Valve’s Proton compatibility layer for Steam makes it possible for many Windows games to run on Linux machines. Since Chrome OS has some Linux compatibility, it may be in the cards for Proton to get up and running on Google’s operating system. 

The timing for gaming Chromebooks is ripe, as the integrated graphics on many recent CPUs are proving more than up to the task of a lot of gaming scenarios, letting Chromebooks get away with a lack of dedicated graphics processors. And we’ve also seen chips made for Chromebooks playing nicely with Nvidia graphics processors.