This one is very, very early in the works, but it is still exciting to see. Acer looks to be in the beginning stages of bringing a new, Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Chromebook into the fray. While we’re not expecting the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 1 or Gen 2 inside (we’ve yet to tie that SoC to a development board), there’s a chance we could see the not-yet-released Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 make an appearance with this latest Acer device. There are things that make all of this much-less clear than normal, so let’s look at what we know, what we think we know, and make a few conclusions together.
This board is Snapdragon, perhaps the 7c+ Gen 3
First and foremost, from the initial commit and the included files, we know for sure this new board – code name ‘Evoker’ – will be a Snapdragon-powered Chromebook. The board is derived from ‘Herobrine’, and we at least know that ‘Herobrine’ is one of the main reference boards for the internally-named SC7280. With that sort of model name, we know we’re dealing with a Snapdragon chip that is in the same line as others we’ve already had hands-on time with, like the Lenovo Duet 3 or the HP Chromebook x2 11.
Things get a tad bit complicated from there, however, as we’ve yet to pin down exactly what the SC7280 actually is. We know that boards using the SC7180 are derived from ‘Trogdor’ and ‘Strongbad’, but it hasn’t been quite as clear-cut as we expected. For instance, the Acer Chromebook Spin 513 and HP Chromebook x2 11 both come from those original SC7180 boards and contain the Gen 1 version of that SoC from Qualcomm. However, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3 and Duet 5 both come from the same SC7180-based ‘Strongbad’ reference board that the HP x2 11 comes from and both come equipped with the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2.
With models like SC7180 and SC7280, you’d assume that the “1” and “2” in the model names would follow with the generation, but that simply hasn’t been the case. As a matter of fact, we’ve yet to see any of the ‘Herobrine’ boards (those with the SC7280) actually materialize into an actual Chromebook at this point. If ‘Herobrine’ was in fact a Snapdragon Gen 2 board, we’d be seeing some of the iterations in devices by now. At this point, we have ‘Hoglin’, ‘Senor’, ‘Villager’ and now ‘Evoker’ in the queue, so it’s beginning to make quite a bit of sense that these devices could end up being Snapdragon 7c+ Gen 3 Chromebooks.
Why we believe it is an Acer device
The other thing we can understand from the single commit for ‘Evoker’ is the fact that this looks to be an Acer-made device. If you dig into the files a bit, the battery file for this new Chromebook lists the Panasonic ap16l5j as the actual battery model being used in this device. With just a quick search, you’ll find tons of Acer battery replacements with this exact model number attached, so it is pretty clear we’re looking at an Acer-made Chromebook with ‘Evoker’.
Add to this the fact that this commit has a Quanta email attached, it becomes pretty easy to see the connection to Acer with this one. For their part, Acer has released a couple great ARM-powered devices in the Chromebook 514 and Spin 513 over the past 6 months, so it is great to see them giving Snapdragon another try as they build out their ARM-based Chromebook portfolio.
More to learn about ‘Evoker
For now, however, this is all we can get from this initial commit. While it is early days for ‘Evoker’, it isn’t early days for ‘Herobrine’ and the SC7280 boards in development. As a matter of fact, we’re almost a year and a half into the development of these devices, so when you see a new one join the family, there’s far less work to do at this point. The base board itself should be in pretty good shape at this point, so when a new device hits the development cycle, that cycle is actually quite a bit shorter than normal. I’d wager we may see an announcement of this one at Acer’s yearly fall event or perhaps at CES 2023 in January. Until then, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one and will report back when we have something new.