Thanks to new info spotted by Chrome Unboxed, we've seen more hints of a more powerful Chromebook coming which would make for a reasonable gaming unit.
We've known for some time now that Google has been planning to get Steam on Chromebooks properly, however most existing models would lack the power needed. In the new report it seems Google are working towards a new Intel and AMD powered Chromebook with an AMD Vega 12 discrete graphics card unit (dGPU). This would definitely change things and if it arrives in time for Google's wider Steam plans, it means there would be another Linux-based device out there from a huge company capable of Linux gaming (either native Linux games or with Steam Play Proton).
You can run Steam on some existing Chrome OS devices right now, but the experience isn't the best and having it officially done by Google would ensure good compatibility.
This doesn't mean that Valve is a partner on it though, and we're not going to jump to some big speculative conclusion that it's any part of Valve's plan. Mostly because we already know Valve has their own dedicated plan with the Linux-based Steampal handheld. Update: Valve announced the Steam Deck.
As we said before in a previous article: the question is: why is it actually relevant to Linux and Linux gaming overall? Well, Chromebooks run Chrome OS which is…Linux under the Google branded hood. The version of Steam they will get is the Linux version, so they will be adding directly to the numbers of Linux users already on Steam. Part of this is because Google's Borealis uses a form of Virtual Machine that last we saw was powered by Ubuntu. Don't underestimate what that could do.
I doubt it would move mountains mind you, but Chromebooks are very popular and every little helps. I've always said hardware is what we need. Hardware on shelves in stores and in more well-known online shops, it is the missing key. There's no point having fancy marketing campaigns or extravagant plans without something to actually hook people in with. Again, it's why I think the Valve Steampal is a great idea.