We’re hot off the heels of HP announcing the highly-anticipated Snapdragon-powered Chromebook X2 11 tablet. While there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to HP’s latest detachable, we were somewhat disappointed that the 11″ 2-in-1 tablet is using the older Snapdragon 7c from Qualcomm. Thankfully, Qualcomm’s competition, MediaTek, appears to be ahead of the curve and has not one but two new ARM-based SoCs being used specifically for upcoming Chrome OS devices.
For over a year, we have been tracking the development of multiple devices utilizing MediaTek’s MT8192 SoC that will power mid-range devices but more recently, a new chipset has been added to the fold. The MT8195, a.k.a Kompanio 1200, is MediaTek’s shot at the premium laptop segment and will hopefully bring ARM-based Chromebooks into the realm of flagship devices. Back in February, Robby unearthed the first signs of the MT8195 in the Chromium repository, and shortly thereafter, the first MT8195 baseboard surfaced.
Generally speaking, the first board built with a new chipset is a developmental board used to spawn actual devices that will eventually hit the market. The ‘Cherry’ baseboard could very well be one of those developmental boards that never actually become an actual Chromebook. Instead, it is the foundation for new boards moving forward. That’s not always the case and ‘Cherry’ could manifest itself as a retail product but I would lean toward the former scenario. That said, we now have another flagship-level MediaTek Chromebook in the works that will use the MT8195 SoC.
There is little detail at the moment but the new MediaTek Chromebook ‘Tomato’ was added directly from the ‘Cherry’ baseboard at the beginning of July. The Chromebook is being produced by Quanta which means it could come from a number of OEMs. Acer and Dell both use Quanta to produce a wide variety of laptops but we’ll have to dig up some more information before we can put a name with Tomato’s face. At this point, the new Chromebook could be convertible or detachable but we won’t know which until developers start adding more code for the panel and things such as gyroscopes and sensors.
Regardless of who is making Tomato, this is a good sign that MediaTek could make good on its promise to deliver a wider distribution of Kompanio-powered Chromebooks by the end of 2021. We have always felt that ARM-powered Chromebooks could thrive if OEMs would commit to making them but I suppose I freely assumed that Qualcomm would lead that charge. As it sits, the SoC giant is going to have some catching up to do if the company wants to grab any market share because MediaTek is killing it and they don’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
My only other question about this new line of Chromebooks at this time is in reference to the board names. Are we looking at a line of devices named after various tomatoes? With cherry leading the way, will we soon have a ‘Roma’ baseboard or perhaps a ‘Beefstake’? Or, are the new MT8195 Chromebooks going to be named after produce in general. Actually, I took a quick break before posting this and I discovered that the MT8195 devices may follow the usual gaming theme that many Chrome OS boards have used since the early days of the operating system. Apparently, Cherry Inmato is a character from the Yu-Gi-Oh! video game series that is based on a card of the same name. This character of part of the Tomato Alliance. So, there you go. MediaTek’s new Chromebooks will be Yu-Gi-Oh! characters.