In all the development that has happened over the course of nearly 3 years with Snapdragon chips and Chromebooks, one thing has always felt a bit out of place to me: the lack of a tablet option. As this year began and the hype around the Lenovo Chromebook Duet ensued, it became quite clear that people want Chrome OS in a true tablet form. Even as the Duet launched with a few setbacks, people tend to love this little device that is at once a light, manageable tablet and a Chromebook, too. Sure, Google got out of the tablet game after the failure of their own Pixel Slate, but that doesn’t mean the market isn’t still interested in this form factor for Chromebooks.
In light of this, I’ve been on the hunt for more tablets that are on the way and I’ve surprisingly come up pretty empty. I wrote not long ago that the Duet is far more unique than we first thought, being one of only a trio of MediaTek 8183 tablets in development. Though the ‘Kukui’ baseboard has spawned many upcoming devices, only the Duet, Lenovo Chromebook 10e and the ‘Kakadu’ board have all the bits and pieces to make for a proper Chrome OS tablet.
All of this is pretty understandable as the idea of a Chrome OS tablet hasn’t been that interesting until the Duet showed up and changed those mindsets. With clamshell and convertible Chromebooks selling well and finally gaining traction with consumers, I can’t blame any manufacturer for deciding against the tablet form factor up to this point. As the reactions to Lenovo’s Chrome OS tablet have been very positive, however, it stands to reason that we could see an uptick in the number of in-development Chromebooks that end up giving the Chrome OS tablet another shot, and a far-more-powerful Snapdragon 7c could go a long way towards making a very compelling tablet-first Chrome OS device.
Finally a Snapdragon Chrome OS tablet
One such device is a new Chromebook we’ve found that goes by the name of ‘Coachz’. If you are unfamiliar, it seems all the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Chromebooks in development are falling in the Homestar Runner family of character names. We have ‘Trogdor’ (the main reference board), ‘Bubs’, ‘Pompom’, ‘Lazor, ‘Limozeen’ and now ‘Coachz’. The additions have come slowly, but we’re now getting to the point where we have a small family of devices in development that will bear the Snapdragon 7c chip.
Where ‘Coachz’ detaches from the pack, however, is in the presence of a few commits that make it quite clear this device will be a tablet. Along for the ride with ‘Coachz’ is another Homestar Runner character name, but it isn’t clear that ‘Strongbad’ will actually be a device. We’re under the impression that ‘Strongbad’ will instead be the platform code name for detachable/tablet Snapdragon 7c Chromebooks. Either way, take a quick look at the language in these couple code changes that clearly lay out the case for ‘Coachz’ as a tablet.
For now, there are no clues that point to a first-party keyboard in development, but that could come later. While the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 launched as a Chrome OS tablet without a dedicated keyboard accessory, it stands as the only example of a tablet or detachable to do so. I’d wager we’ll see ties to a dedicated keyboard before long for ‘Coachz’, but I have no clue as to when we’ll see it. After all, Snapdragon Chromebooks have been in development for nearly 3 years at this point, so much of the groundwork for these new devices is already laid. While ‘Coachz’ just began work earlier in September, the development could move along quite quickly as it is based on ‘Trogdor’ that has been in the works since July of 2019. As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on this device and pay it more attention than we were prior as we’re on the hunt for more tablets to enter into development after the success of the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.