Last night, 9to5 Google published a finding that we’ve been expecting to see at some point, outlining a handful of Chromebooks that are slated to make the ‘Chromebook Plus’ cut. The commit Kyle found in the Chromium Repositories has since been taken down, but in one of the files found in the code change, it was revealed what existing Chromebooks will be added to the list and also provided the code names for 4 upcoming devices that we should see launched as Google fully unveils the ‘Chromebook Plus’ effort.
A bit of background on ‘Chromebook Plus’
Before we dive in, let’s take a moment and refresh everyone on what this is all about. Originally, ‘Chromebook X’ was found to be a new program by Google that would usher in a set of defined Chromebooks that would have certain hardware feature, build quality guidelines, and updated software extras that standard Chromebooks wouldn’t have initially. Later, we found that this whole effort is to be called ‘Chromebook Plus’ and that’s where we are today.
For now, the entire thing is still a bit of a mystery and though I feel confident that Google can use this new ‘Chromebook Plus’ branding to tighten up build quality and encourage manufacturers to tighten up their naming schemes, the truth is we don’t know how all this is going to come together just yet. For now, we’re simply waiting for some official notice from Google to see how it all gets handled.
4 new Chromebooks with the ‘Plus’ branding
And that brings us to the new findings by 9to5 Google. According to the aforementioned commit, there are 8 Chromebook code names identified as being a part of the initial ‘Chromebook Plus’ program, but more could follow. And it’s worth noting that until Google officially makes all of this real, any of these devices could fall off the list. First, let’s talk about the new devices!
From the above list, there are 4 not-yet-released devices that – strangely enough – are already listed over at cros.tech: a repository for Chromebook models and ChromeOS version numbers based on Google’s official ‘Omaha’ server. Those devices include:
- Acer Chromebook Plus 515 (omnigul)
- Acer Chromebook Plus 514 (markarth)
- Asus Chromebook CX34 CX3402CBA (marasov)
- HP Chromebook 15.6” (yaviks)
Then, there are four other code names that belong to already-existing Chromebooks, but it isn’t yet clear which models of these development boards (some have a couple devices per actual code name) will actually be included in the ‘Chromebook Plus’ program. Those code names and at least one (most likely) related devices are:
- Asus Chromebook CM34 Flip (frostflow)
- HP Chromebook x360 14c (gimble)
- Lenovo IdeaPad 5i Chromebook 16-inch (taeko)
- Lenovo Slim 3i Chromebook 14 (pujjoteen)
While I can see the appeal of the Chromebooks being added from the existing inventory of available devices (I think there are others that clearly qualify, here), what we’re most anticipating is the arrival of those new devices that will likely ship with some sort of ‘Chromebook Plus’ branding on the box. With a clear call to what Google is trying to do with all of this, I can’t wait to see what these devices bring to the table.
Thoughts on the 4 new ‘Chromebook Plus’ devices
There are a few notes I have about those new devices. First up, the names of Acer’s two new devices are interesting. They both have the word ‘Plus’ in them, denoting the likelihood that ‘Chromebook Plus’ is in fact the naming of this new device category. Second, they both are in the 500-class of Acer’s Chrombooks, detoting that they aren’t the top-tier flagships that Acer makes lilke the Chrombook 714 Spin. Instead, these devices – as we expected – will be competitively priced for the mid-range.
Additionally, across the lineup of these four new devices, we see a nice array of processors that we can know are included thanks to their code names. The new Acer Chromebook Plus 515 will have the same AMD Ryzen 3 7320C processor inside that we see in the ASUS Chromebook Vibe CM34 Flip and the new Acer Chromebook Plus 514 and ASUS CX34 (marasov) will both be from the 12th-gen Intel Alder Lake family.
The HP Chromebook 15.6-inch (yaviks) is technically already on the market and can be bought at Best Buy. However, the current iteration of that Chromebook doesn’t fit into what we’d expect from this new ‘Chromebook Plus’ category, so I did a bit of digging. Though there’s a 1366×768 version of this device out there already at Best Buy, a version with the the same N200 processor, 8GB of RAM and an upgraded, 1080p screen. There’s no way the existing 1366×768 screen makes the cut for ‘Chromebook Plus’, so my money is on a new version of the HP Chromebook 15.6-inch when all of this rolls out.
For now, that’s what we know. I’d imagine we don’t have too much longer before we hear something more official from Google, and obviously as soon as we hear more and can share it, we will. ‘Chromebook Plus’ is a bold step for Chromebooks, and one that needs to work in all the right ways to actually find its footing. I’m hopeful that the four new devices on the way exhibit what Google is trying to accomplish with ‘Chromebook Plus’ moving forward, and I hope we get to see these devices sooner rather than later.