All eyes are currently casting a gaze in the direction of New York as Google prepares to unleash a new hardware lineup that includes the Pixel 4, Nest Mini and the intriguingly named “Pixelbook Go.” We’ll be on the ground at the event and we are super stoked to bring you coverage of the event as we get our hands on the next Chromebook #MadeByGoogle.
Having said that, I am equally if not more excited about our latest discovery. It has been roughly eleven months since we found evidence of the first Comet Lake baseboard in the Chromium repository. Since then, at least half a dozen new devices have been birthed from the ‘Hatch’ platform and the time is drawing near that we could hear an announcement of one of these Chromebooks.
With Google’s event just two days away, I was doing my due diligence and poking around the FCC and other sites to see if any new filings had surfaced ahead of the event. Even with 9to5Google’s in-depth hands-on, we still like to search for anything that may still be unknown about an upcoming device. In my search, I found yet-another ASUS Chromebook Flip that I have never heard of before today.
ASUS Chromebook Flip C436, A.k.a. Helios
At first glance, the Bluetooth certification that listed the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436 had me flat out confused. We just came off the mind-boggling debut of ASUS’ Chromebook Flip C433 that doesn’t appear to be that much different than the Flip C434. My initial thought was “surely ASUS isn’t releasing a third convertible Chromebook with the same internals as the two previous ones.”
On top of that, ASUS’ laptop nomenclature can be a bit confusing but one number, in particular, is relatively consistent with the display size. Devices with a model number of 5xx are generally 15.6″ and laptops with a 4xx model number are 14″. This just added to my bewilderment. Another 14″ 8th gen Chromebook? Even if they are making a Chrome Enterprise device it seems very out of the ordinary.
So, I headed back to the Chromium repository to see if I could connect the dots. I lucked out and actually found a commit that referenced the model number C436 in the comments. The device attached to the commit is none other than the Comet Lake board we discovered back in June. ‘Helios’ has been in development for nearly six months and is being manufactured by the Pegatron Corporation. That name rang a bell but I couldn’t quite figure out why. They didn’t make any Chromebooks that I was aware of but I definitely had heard of these guys. A quick search revealed that Pegatron actually used to be a manufacturing arm for ASUS before spinning off on its own in 2008.
A little more digging brought me to our friend Kevin Tofel’s website where he references Pegatron in an article about ‘Rammus’ and ‘Shyvana’. Those happen to be the baseboard and overlay for the ASUS Chromebook C434 that was also developed by Pegatron. There’s you’re smoking gun. ‘Helios’ is a 10th Gen Comet Lake Chromebook that will be the ASUS Chromebook Flip C436. It should be a 14″ and will likely favor ASUS’ current flagships.
Now, when will we see this new Chromebook? That’s a tough call to make. ASUS debuted the Flip C434 at CES earlier this year. Its predecessor, the Flip C302 saw the light of day for the first time just prior to CES in 2017. It would be expected to see ASUS do the same for their newest flagship but the fact that the Chromebook C436 is passing through Bluetooth certification already leads me to believe that ASUS is trying to get to market sooner than later.
Perhaps ASUS is trying to be the first out of the gate with Intel’s 10th gen processors. With the Pixelbook Go slated to feature aging Kaby Lake chips, ASUS could rock the boat by dropping a competitively priced convertible before the holidays that feature chipsets that are two generations newer than Google’s latest Chromebook. Oh yeah, did I mention that the Flip C436 will feature WIFI 6? Not earth-shattering but it’s one more thing that will put it at the head of the pack. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this Chromebook arrive before the end of November but, I’ve been wrong before. In the meantime, we’ll just have to marvel at the Pixelbook Go. We’ll have the live stream right here so you can follow the play-by-play. Don’t forget to check out our Solo NY mystery bag giveaway. We’ll announce the winner live from New York after the Google event on Tuesday. See you then.
Source: Bluetooth Listings, Chromium Repository