As we get closer and closer to figuring out exactly what ‘Hatch’ is, we learn more and more about the capabilities of this unibuild board. As we saw just in this last week, ‘Hatch’ is responsible for four total baseboards, including ‘Kohaku’, ‘Helios’ and ‘Kindred’ which we just met recently. With these four boards (and possibly more down the road) we’re seeing a striking similarity to a trend from last year surrounding the baseboard ‘Nami’.
If you remember, ‘Nami’ emerged in December of 2017 and spawned a whole new generation of devices like the Acer Chromebook Spin 13, HP Chromebook x360, Dell Inspiron Chromebook, and the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630. These device collectively changed the entire Chromebook ecosystem, delivering different variations of a similar pattern: more premium builds, better overall experiences, and fast performance. We’ve used, reviewed, and loved each of these devices in their own ways, but the consistency among the group is the common baseboard they all share in ‘Nami’.
A similar pattern seems to be emerging with ‘Hatch’. In December of 2018, ‘Hatch’ emerged as a unibuild board much like ‘Nami’, meaning multiple Chromebooks will be spawned from this single board. And, much like ‘Nami’, we’re already seeing multiple devices being built off this same baseboard likely by different manufacturers. Gabriel has a strong hunch that Samsung will be in on this round of premium Chromebooks with ‘Kohaku’ looking quite likely to be a Samsung-made device. As it sits now, we’re still in the dark on who ‘Helios’ and ‘Kindred’ belong to.
What We Do Know
All that being said, here’s some new news that we do know at this point. According to a board file we dug up just last night, all the boards based off of the ‘Hatch’ unibuild will be powered by the Intel’s Comet Lake U-series processors. While we knew Comet Lake was in play for ‘Hatch’ already, we weren’t sure if we were looking at full-power processors like what we have in the ‘Nami’-based devices mentioned above or if we’d end up with fanless Y-series devices. With the clear signs in this file that fans are on board for these baseboards, that points us to U-series chips for the ‘Hatch’ family.
To be fair, Y-series processors are getting very fast these days. The Pixelbook, Pixel Slate and ASUS Chromebook C434 are all examples of the speed Y-series processors can deliver. With U-series processors, however, the higher TDP (resulting in the necessity of small fans) also means much higher performance, more raw power, and Chromebooks that generally never break a sweat doing anything. Another benefit is the ability for manufacturers to utilize the U-series Celeron or i3 processors. While the Y-series versions can be a tad slow, the U-series Celeron and i3 absolutely crush performance on Chromebooks, so there’s the opportunity for great performance at a slightly lower cost to the consumer.
One other fun fact: other ‘Nami’ variants from last year began showing up around May and June in the repositories just like the ‘Hatch’ variants. It’s all lining up to be a repeat of ‘Nami’ from last year, and if our gut is correct, it should mean an entire new fleet of higher-end Chromebooks with blazing performance on tap for Q4 of this year. Add to that the expected Snapdragon Chromebooks, MediaTek Chromebooks, and possible AMD Chromebooks, and you have a recipe for a very, very busy 4th quarter in the world of Chrome OS.