As promised, more details are bubbling to the surface for ‘Geralt’ – the detachable ChromeOS tablet reference board that is breathing new life and excitement into the Chromebook tablet world once again. Though a period went by where we weren’t certain that we’d see any new tablets, ‘Geralt’ (and hopefully a handful of tablets that spawn from it) has rekindled our collective excitement around Chromebook tablets once again.
And the reason is pretty clear: MediaTek’s MT8188 SoC will be on board, marking the first time we’ll see a detachable Chromebook with some real ARM power inside. Though the Pixel Slate had decent speed with the 8th-gen Intel Core i5 chip inside, that device had a whole host of other issues that make it less than ideal in 2023 and that processor obviously wasn’t an ARM chip.
With the MediaTek MT8188, however, we’re expecting solid speed, great battery life, and the ability for OEMs to build thin and light form factors around it. Already, we’ve seen hints that ‘Geralt’ is being tested with a screen that was used on another fan favorite Chromebook tablet – the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 – and that gives us hopes for what types of detachables we are likely to see once full production of these ‘Geralt’-based Chromebooks starts.
A new camera sensor being tested
From the latest commits, we can see that a new set of cameras is being tested with ‘Geralt’, though I could only find info on one of them. The first is a Hynix sensor that I can’t find any references to on the web at all, but the second sensor is from GalaxyCore (model GC08A3), and this particular sensor has been used in relatively-recent phones like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11.
From reviews on that phone, we can gather that this sensor is being used in ultrawide camera setups and is capable of 8MP images with a 1/4-inch sensor size. Though the photos shown from the Redmi Note 11’s ultrawide camera aren’t the best you can get from a phone camera, I can definitively say that the sample shots from GSM Arena’s review are better than just about anything I’ve ever seen from a Chromebook. If we can get some tablets with this sort of camera abilities, I’d be happy with it!
What I’d really love to see is this sensor being used in the front-facing camera on one of these upcoming tablets. They wouldn’t need to put it behind such a wide lens, but a decently-wide angle setup with this sensor would make a great combo for video calls and screen recording functions – never mind apps like Snapchat or Instagram.
As details continue to emerge, we’ll continue to piece together the growing puzzle that is ‘Geralt’ and I’m hoping before too long we’ll begin to see some actual production device boards emerge from this work. I have to imagine HP and Lenovo are already looking at this base board and prepping devices, but it would be equally awesome if ASUS (who has a solid history with MediaTek) and even Acer took a swing with the MT8188 detachable form factor.
I’ve not been this excited for a new ChromeOS tablet in quite some time, and ‘Geralt’ could pave the way for some seriously sweet Chromebook hardware if OEMs take what has worked in the past and iterate on it. With plenty of power under the hood and battery life that should easily last all day, they have what they need to make some great experiences. Here’s hoping they take advantage of it.