Intel’s Apollo Lake chipset was slated to be head and shoulders above its predecessor the Braswell series that powers so many entry-level and mid-range Chrome devices. While Intel was touting up to a 30% boost in performance from the new Goldmont architecture, our initial impressions of the Apollo Lake SoC have been less than favorable.
Synthetic benchmarks aside, Intel’s latest iteration of the Atom lineup performs no better than the N3160 found in my Acer Chromebook 14. Hopefully, with time and tweaking, these statistics will change.
Apollo Lake-based Chromebooks have barely begun to warm shelves and real-world use has yet to be displayed on a large scale. The delay in Android Apps combined with internal issues with Apollo Lake itself has been a major setback for these much-anticipated devices.
But, as with anything in this industry, development moves forward. Intel has already announced the successor to the Apollo Lake processor and this week I stumbled upon evidence that preparations for Gemini Lake powered Chromebooks are already in the works.
src/overlays: Add overlay-glkrvp, chipset-glk and baseboard-glkrvp
This may look like gobbledygook but in a nutshell, this is the initial overlay for the Gemini Lake chipset being added to the Chromium repository. Digging a little deeper we find that this is the very first sighting of Gemini on Chrome OS and is, in fact, a “reference” board. Essentially that means this isn’t an actual device in development but the board where the Gemini Lake chip will be tested, tweaked and tuned. From there, Chromebooks using this chipset will be developed.
It’s not really a surprise to support for Intel’s next chip showing up in the repository. CannonLake, Skylake’s replacement, has been in the works for some time now and I’d say we will be well into 2018 before we see a device with either the Gemini Lake or CannonLake SoCs.
As exciting as it may be to see these upcoming devices develop, I sincerely hope we can see the current Apollo Lake devices better leverage these advertised performance increases. The Gemini Lake processors are rumored to gain another 15% increase in performance using the same 14nm process and Goldmont technology but that means little to nothing if the current Atom lineup shows no improvement over the aging Braswell label.
Here at Chrome Unboxed, we are 110% for any type of advancement of the Chrome OS platform. What we aren’t for is pumping out a truckload of sub-par devices all in the name of progress. Chromebooks are awesome. There is no reason these new devices shouldn’t harness that awesomeness. To the devs and OEMs, I would say to you, you and the consumer are better served fine-tuning these products instead of forcing rollouts with mediocre performance.
That’s my two cents. We will be on the look out for the first Gemini Lake Chromebooks to hit the repository. In the meantime, we will stay on top of the performance of the latest Apollo Lake devices to see how they mature. Fingers crossed.