UPDATE – 7/9/2020: Today, we are adding three new devices in development: two in the ‘Dedede’ line of Chromebooks that employ the latest small-core processors from Intel in the Jasper Lake 11th-gen line and one in the ‘Volteer’ group. All of these devices come with far better GPUs than their predecessors, both in the large core (Tiger Lake) and small core (Jasper Lake) variations, giving them big performance gains over the previous generations. Check out the ‘Volteer’ and ‘Dedede’ sections below to learn more.
From time to time, it is useful to get your thoughts in one place. As we continue to track new baseboards and upcoming Chrome OS devices on a daily basis, it can become a bit confusing for us as writers and for you as readers exactly which board is expected to do what. A few years ago, we’d be tracking a handful of devices, see those devices arrive, and move on to looking for more. It was pretty easy to keep all the newness in front of us back then, but it’s a very different story these days.
Looking at my notes and my starred/saved changes from the Chromium Repositories, there are so many new devices in development across multiple different baseboards with a wide assortment of chip sets, configurations, and form factors. As I began looking across all those boards and upcoming devices, it hit me that we’d do well to take some inventory of where we are, where we’re going, and what all these code-names and baseboards have to do with upcoming Chromebooks.
A quick note in the event that all this is new to you: baseboards and overlays are code-named in the open source Chromium Repositories and usually exist these days in a particular structure. There are unibuild boards that spawn multiple different devices with their own code-named overlays. These devices will be similar on the inside, but each one could be a different Chromebook made by a different manufacturer. The recently released Lenovo Flex 5 and ASUS Chromebook C436 are both based on the unibuild ‘Hatch’ baseboard, for example, and are quite different on the outside.
There’s a lot of info to take in here, so this is how we’ll proceed: we’ll put each main, unibuild board as a heading, explain what the main features are of that board, and then list the overlays and devices being built off of that board. We’ll link the lists to what we know about these upcoming Chromebooks so you can research further if you’d like. So, with that in mind, let’s dive in and see everything we know about at this point in 2020.
The ‘Kukui’ baseboard is the unibuild that has already spawned the Lenovo 10e and the Chromebook Duet. We know there are more devices coming based on this board with the possibility of at least one more tablet/detachable variant. These Chromebooks will run on the MediaTek P60T chip set and, like the Duet, will be decent performers with great battery life.
- ‘Krane’ (Lenovo Chromebook Duet)
- ‘Kodama’ (Lenovo Chromebook 10e)
The ‘Hatch’ baseboard is based on the 10th-gen Intel Comet Lake chips and these Chromebooks come with an armada of upgrades over their 8th-gen predecessors. ‘Hatch’-based Chromebooks will have faster performance, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5, optional NVMe storage, fingerprint scanners, pen support, and premium build options. However, ‘Hatch’ boards can also spawn devices like the Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook that bring much of the goodness of the latest-gen hardware and keep the price in check. An additional feature of these Chromebooks is or will be the inclusion of regular updates until June of 2028.
- ‘Kohaku’ (Samsung Galaxy Chromebook)
- ‘Helios’ (ASUS Chromebook Flip C436)
- ‘Akemi’ (Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook)
- ‘Dratini’ (HP Pro C640 Chromebook)
- ‘Dragonair’ (HP Elite C1030 Chromebook)
While we still have a long way to go in getting all the upcoming 10th-gen Comet Lake devices out of development and into users’ hands, that doesn’t mean the Chrome OS developers are just sitting by on the current generation. Instead, things are continuing to move forward on the latest, greatest chips from Intel in the form of the 11th-gen Tiger Lake 10nm processors. These devices started development at the end of 2019, so don’t expect to see anything from this group until the end of 2020 or at shows like CES 2021 next year. Update: Three new boards based on the Tiger Lake Volteer baseboard just surfaced and two of them appear to be from ASUS.
This board, for the time being, stands alone. Think of ‘Asurada’ as a tangent to ‘Kukui’ but also as an upgrade. The chip on board for this one is the MediaTek 8192 and it is a substantial upgrade over the 8183 (also called the Helio P60T) that is found in ‘Kukui’ devices. With the underlying similarities to ‘Kukui’, we expect development to move fast with ‘Asurada’ and we’d expect it to spawn quite a few boards in the coming months.
While we’ve become accustomed to seeing the latest Intel chips in new Chromebook boards, it is really awesome to see higher-powered AMD chips being worked on for use in a handful of upcoming Chromebooks. We had a small wave of affordable AMD devices last year, but those were based on the older A4 and A6 chips that offered little in the way of upgrades from the more-affordable mobile Intel processors. With these new Picasso chips from AMD, Intel may finally have a fight on its hands for top-tier Chromebook performance. Additionally, there are a couple boards below that are a sort of tandem to ‘Zork’ in ‘Dalboz’ and ‘Ezkinil’ that are swapping the AMD Picasso chips for the newer, more-mobile focused Dali processors.
This chip set is one we’ve been looking at for a very, very long time. ‘Trogdor’ is the torch-bearer for what we hope will become the first Qualcomm Snapdragon Chromebook. In development for years already, we used to keep tabs on ‘Cheza’ as the first possible Snapdragon device, but it looks like ‘Cheza’ may never materialize as it is based on the Snapdragon 845 chip that is rapidly becoming obsolete. Instead, ‘Trogdor’ looks to leverage the newer Snapdragon Compute 7c chip set that makes far more sense in Chromebooks.
We only know a bit about this board, but the main highlight is the Jasper Lake Intel processors that will retain the low price of Intel’s small core, mobile-focused chips while giving users a very nice speed bump over the current Gemini Lake Chromebooks. There aren’t many of these yet, but expect a ton to show up as 2020 rolls on.
As time goes by, we’ll regularly update this post with new boards we find and new news we come across on boards we already have good knowledge about. We’re hopeful this becomes a place you can regularly return to that you may stay up to date on all the Chromebooks on the way. We thought last year was crazy, but this is already at a whole new level in 2020. Bookmark this post to stay in the know…it’s going to be a fun ride!