UPDATE – 3/24/2021: This time around, the update is all about Jasper Lake and the devices built on the ‘Dedede’ reference board. These devices will usher in a new era of affordable Chromebooks that should have more than enough processing power for the vast majority of general users from consumers to education markets. Don’t forget: bookmark this page to return here whenever you need to remind yourself where any particular Chromebook board belongs. It’s becoming quite the handy tool!
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.
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. As we move into 2021, more and more of these boards continue to show up and we’re quite confident there will be many low-priced Chromebooks from these boards to choose from later in the year.
- ‘Boten’ (Lenovo Chromebook 500e 2nd Gen)
‘Hatch’ (Intel 10th-gen Comet Lake)
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)
- ‘Nightfury’ (Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2)
- ‘Helios’ (ASUS Chromebook Flip C436)
- ‘Akemi’ (Lenovo Flex 5 Chromebook)
- ‘Kindred’ (Acer Chromebook 712)
- ‘Kled’ (Acer Chromebook Spin 713)
- ‘Dratini’ (HP Pro C640 Chromebook)
- ‘Drallion’ (Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise)
- ‘Jinlon’ (HP Elite C1030 Chromebook)
‘Volteer’ (Intel 11th-gen Tiger Lake)
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.
‘Kukui’ (MediaTek MT8183)
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)
- ‘Jacuzzi’ (Acer Chromebook Spin 311, HP Chromebook x360 11 MK)
- ‘Juniper’ (Acer Chromebook Spin 311)
- ‘Burnet’ (HP Chromebook x360 11 MK G3 EE)
- ‘Esche’ (HP Chromebook 11 MK G9 EE)
‘Asurada’ (MediaTek MT8192)
This board, for quite some time, stood 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. Right now, there are only two, but that should change in early 2021.
‘Cherry’ (MediaTek MT8195)
For now, just as ‘Asurada’ began, this board stands alone as the only flagship MediaTek devleoment board we’re tracking. This will 100% change and likely soon, but for now we only have one. Little is known about this device, but we’ll find plenty in the coming months as we’re not slated to have MT8195 devices in the market until the end of 2021. As long as no delays get in the way, we’ll know what this higher end MediaTek chip is capable of soon enough.
‘Zork’ (AMD Ryzen 3700C)
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.
- ‘Morphius’ (Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook)
- ‘Ezkinil’ (Acer Chromebook Spin 514)
- ‘Berknip’ (HP Chromebook Pro C645)
‘Cezanne’ (AMD Ryzen 5000U)
Representing the most powerful mobile chips AMD makes, the Ryzen 5000U chips were recently spotted in the Chromium Repositories and there are already a few boards being worked on with this next-get chip set. Because they are so new, there’s little we know about them at the moment, but we’re keeping an eye on them for sure. As we expect many of the ‘Zork’ family of Chromebooks to be arriving early in 2021, we’d expect to see these higher-end AMD Chromebooks in the second half of the year.
‘Trogdor’ (Snapdragon 7c)
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.
‘Herobrine’ (Snapdragon SC7280)
This is one of the newest additions we’ve come across and we still don’t quite know what to make of it. While the Snapdragon 7c goes internally by the SC7180 model name, the new SC7280 doesn’t have a marketing name just yet. What it will be and what it can do will be discovered later, but we already have two boards we’re tracking in this group that won’t likely be around until late 2021 or into 2022.
No generation of Chrome OS boards would be complete without some new boxes on the way. Chromeboxes are simple machines built to perform a simple task: get Chrome OS on simple hardware that users can deploy on existing screens using existing keyboard/mouse hardware. ‘Puff’ is the unibuild baseboard for all the new Chromeboxes we’re tracking with the same 10th-gen Intel Comet Lake processors we currently see in ‘Hatch’ devices and we are expecting everything from entry-level Celeron processors to powerful Core i7 chips, too.
- ‘Duffy’ (ASUS Chromebox 4)
- ‘Noibat’ (HP Chromebox G3)
- ‘Kaisa’ (Acer CXI4)
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 2020 was crazy, but this is all at a whole new level moving into 2021. Bookmark this post to stay in the know…it’s going to be a fun ride!