During Intel’s 30-minute CES 2021 keynote, the company highlighted quite a few new things we should be on the lookout for in the enterprise, education, and consumer markets. One of the big focus points of the event was the Evo-branded devices that will be hitting shelves this year and some of the things these devices will be capable of. For Intel, Evo branding is basically a refinement of last year’s Project Athena campaign and we’re frankly glad to see something like this stick around even if it goes by a new name.
When the 11th-gen Tiger Lake chips became a reality back in September of 2020, Intel shifted to Intel Evo and this new initiative is very similar to what the company was after with Project Athena devices. The idea is to create a standard that devices should shoot for, brand it, and make things easier for consumers when they are shopping. Moving forward, if a device ends up being branded as Intel Evo, you know that it packs a handful of traits: 11th-gen Intel chips, Iris Xe GPU, 1 second wake from sleep, at least 9 hours of real world battery life with at least a 1080p screen, and support for fast charging. Where it was a bit tough to spot Project Athena branding last year, there will simply be an Intel Evo badge on devices this time around for a far-easier shopping experience.
Intel Evo Chromebooks
Now that we have the Evo stuff out of the way, the big news for us here at Chrome Unboxed was the official acknowledgement of new Intel Evo Chromebooks coming in Q1 of this year. We’ve been tracking Tiger Lake Chromebooks that all branch off of the ‘Volteer’ baseboard for quite some time, so this shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone. While not every 11th-gen Intel device will necessarily get the Evo branding, it’s a safe bet that quite a few of them will. Currently, there are 19 total ‘Volteer’ boards we’re keeping an eye on and any number of them could show up in the next handful of weeks.
Teased on camera during the Chromebook section was an Acer device that is without name or designation, but looks to us like an updated version of the Acer Spin 713. The screen is taller and the bezels are quite small, giving us those Spin 713 vibes. The presenter simply said “this Acer device” as he picked it up from the table, but we can get a pretty good look at the outside of the Chromebook and at least know that Acer is in the Evo game and likely soon.
What else to expect from Intel Evo Chromebooks
Included in the announcment was the fact that Thunderbolt 4 will be on board these Chromebooks, though if you’ve been following along, this isn’t really a surprise, either. Thunderbolt 4 (via USB 4) will allow for greater multi-monitor support, faster data transfers, and perhaps the possibility of external GPU support down the road.
Additionally, 11th-gen Intel Chromebooks will see 2.5x faster multitasking productivity over 10th-gen devices and 5x faster web based productivity versus current-gen Chromebooks. For those Chromebooks that end up with the Intel Evo branding, enhanced speakers and microphone performance is also part of the equation for better video conferencing.
We’re obviously excited by these upcoming Chromebook releases and are eager to see who is the first company to release an Intel Evo Chromebook in Q1. There are about 11 weeks left in this quarter, so we are hopeful a few announcements start rolling in post-CES. Keep in mind, this whole Intel Evo announcement was geared towards consumers, not enterprise, so we’re very happy to get back to seeing premium-grade Chromebooks for standard users showing up later this year. Sooner than later, it seems.
22:40 is where the Chromebook portion begins