We’ve been kicking around a few theories as to if or when we will see the Chrome OS ecosystem expand to include chipmakers like Qualcomm and AMD. Now that we have addressed some of the why’s and why-not’s let’s take a look at some reasonable evidence that Advanced Micro Systems (AMD) may, in fact, be developing a Chrome OS-based device.
A few months back I came across “amd” in the Chromium repositories and decided to do a little more digging. Upon further investigation, I found that the “amd” terminology is sprinkled throughout the commits as far back as 2011. So, being the inquisitive mind that I am, I reached out to the developer community to see if I could get some clarity as to why so much “amd” references exist, yet zero devices are powered by the chipmaker.
The answer was logical but disappointing at the same time. Long story short, Chromium OS is open-sourced. Anyone with the know-how and desire can contribute to the repositories and write support for devices and peripherals. Being that the Neverware software supports a plethora of devices with varying chips, it’s no surprise that amd support is part of the Chromium OS environment.
Other reasons were given for so many commits containing the “amd” nomenclature, but I lack the expertise to give an understandable explanation. Needless to say, little to none of the information pointed at an actual AMD-powered Chromebook.
In late August we began tracking a new board in the repositories codenamed ‘Jadeite’. Very, very little has been revealed about this new device. However, a few recent commits have given me the gut feeling that an AMD Chromebook is being developed; at least in the experimental stages.
A simple search turned up some benchmark scores for an AMD device named ‘Jadeite’ that was tested running Windows as well as Linux. The scores are very recent with nothing prior to October of this year: a good indicator that the device is new and still in development.
Another interesting fact is, until the appearance of ‘Jadeite’, AMD was always referred to as “amd” in the lower case form. These new commits make reference to the “AMD Platform”. It very well may mean nothing except for the fact that the author of these commits has an @AMD.com email address. Prior to ‘Jadeite’ this developer ceased to exist in the repositories. You can view these at the link below.
We also see in one of the commits a specific reference in the developer notes to Carizzo and Stoney, which happen to be the two newest excavator-based APU’s from AMD. A true SoC, these chips possess everything needed to run a full operating system without a separate gpu.
I’ve made my case as to why the time is right for AMD to get in the Chrome OS arena and now I think we are seeing that very thing happen. ‘Jadeite’ very well may be an experiment, a trial run if you will. But, in my humble opinion, this is a look at the first step towards AMD-powered Chromebooks becoming a reality.
How exciting if ‘Jadeite’ becomes the base-board for the first graphics-focused, AMD Chrome OS device. If that is the case, count me in. I look forward to watching this develop and reporting back when we know more.