Like we said before, it is Chromebook silly season! It seems that there are new devices showing up left and right; and almost universally convertibles. I, for one, am having a great time just learning about the characters the codenames are based on.
This newest device ‘Kefka’ is no different. However, what we see in this particular device leads us to believe it may be aimed at the more wallet-friendly end of the Chromebook spectrum.
Let’s take a look.
First up, we have a commit referencing the Strago base board, x86 processor, and a clear Chromebook reference. For comparison, the Strago base board is used on the Acer Chromebook 14, Acer R11, ASUS Chromebook C301SA and a few others.
Your curiosity is likely piqued at this point. Aren’t those all Braswell-powered devices?
Yes they are. And ‘Kefka’ is no different. In the event that the above is not proof enough, here is a commit referencing the Braswell SoC.
We’ll touch on this point in a few minutes, so keep that in your head for a sec.
Some other details include:
- Elan Touchscreen
- Reference to a Touchpad (so no Yoga Book, in case like me you wonder every time we see a new device)
- Convertible Form Factor
- Tablet-type sensors (Accelerometer and Gyroscope)
While some of this stuff is starting to sound familiar and similar to other devices on the horizon, it is still interesting to see a device in the testing phases (likely to hit production soon) with a Braswell processor.
Granted, Apollo Lake processors (which will take Braswell’s place soon) aren’t shipping yet, giving Braswell devices a bit more life. And, to be fair, the yet-to-ship ASUS Chromebook 301SA and quite popular Acer Chromebook 14 are both using this board and SoC, so it’s not too odd to see it still making it’s way through the commits. However, the Acer 14 has been around since mid-May and the ASUS C301SA has a product page up on ASUS’s website (it’s been there and taken down off and on for 2 months now) so they are WAY past the point of muddling through the commits.
So, what gives? Why a Braswell-based device this late in the game?
With the onslaught of Skylake-base devices coming, the Braswell-based Chromebooks will likely keep a very specific trump card in their hands: price.
Skylake devices are more costly, for sure. The only two we have right now are the HP Chromebook 13 G1 and Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook 13. Neither of these could be classified as cheap. They aren’t outlandishly-priced (unless you really push for those top spec versions), but they are not the most budget-friendly Chromebooks you can buy at this point.
We’d assume upcoming devices like ‘Cave’, ‘Asuka’ and ‘Pbody’ will not be in this price bracket. We could be wrong, but it just isn’t likely. With a Braswell-based internal, perhaps ‘Kefka’ can include some higher-end hardware and still keep the price down.
We’ll see what ‘Kefka’ develops into in the coming weeks, no doubt. I have a strong feeling that manufacturers are waiting for the arrival of the Play Store on the Stable channel before opening the floodgates.
Then it will really be silly season!
Bring it on!