Quite a bit of news came out about the ASUS Chromebook C436 yesterday, from expectations we have about the new device at CES next week to its passage through the FCC, it seems we’ll know all we want about ASUS’ latest flagship Chromebook very soon. However, as it turns out, there’s reason to believe ASUS may be starting the development process on another ‘Hatch’-based Chromebook for later in the year that goes by the codename ‘Palkia’.
Very little is available on this new device, but we do know one very clear fact about this new board, and that is the fact that it is being based on ‘Helios’ – a.k.a the ASUS Chromebook C436. Check out the commit language below:
palkia: initial the ec build
This patch is used to initial a new build target for the palkia. Adding a link to helios because the board is similar to helios. We can separate the helios setting once we get the board.
‘Helios’ (the ASUS Flip C436) is clearly built on the ‘Hatch’ baseboard along with a massive slew of other upcoming Chromebooks, so the fact that this ‘Palkia’ device is being started from the ‘Helios’ framework instead of being simply base on ‘Hatch’ tells me clearly that this isn’t just another random Chromebook: it will be an ASUS-made device.
My bet is ASUS will roll out a similar strategy as last year, offering up the main flagship early in the calendar cycle and then eventually dropping one or two offshoots of that main device at lower price points later in the year. I’d imagine the ASUS C436 (‘Helios’) will be an upgrade to the very popular C434 with all the bells and whistles we expect from a ‘Hatch’ device (fingerprint scanner, pen support (maybe), convertible form factor, WIFI 6, Bluetooth 5, 10-gen Intel processor, NVMe storage) with upgrades to all the things the C434 already did well. ASUS could simply keep the display (maybe a bit brighter) and fantastic keyboard, give us a glass trackpad and cram in all those ‘Hatch’ features and we’d have a killer Chromebook.
‘Palkia’ could then become one of a few devices similar to the C425 or C433 that came out later in 2019 that had some of the flagship features of the C434 but dropped certain ones to get the price point down. While I wasn’t a fan at all of the Flip C433, the C425 was well received and has stayed down at a price point that gives it a proper place in the ASUS Chromebook lineup. Perhaps that will happen again with ‘Palkia’. Maybe we’ll get another clamshell version of the ASUS flagship that keeps the price down and offers great features and internals. Time will tell, obviously, but we definitely like where this is going.