Google’s Chrome OS has become a viable alternative to Windows and macOS since its debut several years ago, but there are still times when a more powerful operating system is necessary. Google appears to be well aware of this, as XDA Developers this week reports that a mysterious project which it has been tracking for months is actually a new feature called “Campfire” which will allow Chromebook users to dual boot Windows 10.
Back in June, XDA Developers was able to confirm that the “Alt OS mode” it had discovered on the Chromium GitHub was referring to Windows 10, and that it was more than just an internal experiment. Two months later, XDA is sharing a bevy of new details about the project, including a possible release date.
Originally, XDA only uncovered plans to pass Microsoft’s hardware certification for Windows 10 on the Pixelbook, but there’s now evidence that Campfire could arrive on a range of Chromebook models. In fact, there’s a specific mention of “multiple campfire variants” on Chromium, and that phrase coupled with a few other changes leads XDA to believe that Campfire will be available on more than just the Pixelbook when it launches.
Furthermore, Alt OS mode won’t require users to enable Developer Mode, which is a powerful tool that can potentially be incredibly problematic for Chromebook owners who don’t know how to use it. There are also signs that the process of dual booting will be simple enough for anyone to use, even if the feature is geared toward power users.
It’s unclear at this time how many Chrome OS devices will feature Campfire support, but the source code suggests that a computer will need at least 40GB to dual boot to Windows 10. In other words, your cheap, ancient Chromebook probably won’t be able to make use of Campfire (but hopefully many new models will).
As for release timing, XDA points out that “developers have been pushing fairly hard to get changes merged sooner rather than later,” which might signal a push from Google to get the feature ready to roll out this year. With the Pixel 3 launch event right around the corner, it would be a perfect opportunity to show off Campfire.