Just a few weeks back, a post went up on Reddit from a Lenovo employee asking for testers to partake in an early trial of an upcoming Chrome OS tablet from the company. We’d seen this type of thing before with the Lenovo Smart Clock and that testing request showed up just weeks before the Smart clock was officially announced. Though there was a bit of back-and-forth around this new tablet post on Reddit, it ended up coming out that the whole thing was legit and truly from Lenovo.
We can only assume some folks have since been contacted by Lenovo about the test device, but we have no firm evidence of that at this point. What we do have, however, is a pretty clear connection between a tablet device referenced in the Chromium Bug Tracker named ‘Kodama’ and a Bitland employee with a tight time frame. If all those words didn’t quite make sense together, let me catch you up.
‘Kodama’ is one of around 10 separate Chrome devices we’re tracking that will use the new MediaTek 8183 ARM processor. Most of these devices look to be tablets and/or detachable devices and we’d expect to see them start arriving early in 2020 from all the things we’ve learned about them so far. These devices are in the ‘Kukui’ family (the name of the unibuild baseboard they are all based on) and ‘Kodama’ is one of those devices we’ve been tracking that we are certain will be made as a detachable with a dedicated keyboard accessory.
The Bitland piece of this isn’t quite as straightforward, but you just need to know that Bitland is a Chinese laptop/tablet producer that has built laptops and tablets for Lenovo for years among other companies. An individual with a Bitland email was spotted in the Chromium Bug Tracker by Kevin Tofel of About Chromebooks making a request for a screen rotation bug to be fixed for ‘Kodama’. His request not only included the name of the device, but a bit of a timeline as well. Here’s his comment:
Because this issue will affect our project, time is very tight, we hope this issue can be fixed berfire 12/13.
Could you help with this issue, thanks.
Now, that timeline could be anything, but it all sounds pretty pressing. Given that this comment is about ‘Kodama’ from a Bitland employee right around the same time as Lenovo started looking for testers for a new Chrome OS tablet tells me that they are connected. The timing is just to coincidental for these events not to be connected.
Kevin also found an FCC approval for a Lenovo tablet that passed through the FCC back in the end of November. However, the model number (Lenovo TB-8705F) on this filing does match up with a previously announced device in the Lenovo Tab M8. Could this be a rehashed device? Perhaps, but it is highly unlikely. I’d bet the Tab M8 FCC filing is just the new Smart Tab from Lenovo and ‘Kodama’ is or will be something different.
Either way, we are getting very close to seeing some of these new MediaTek 8183 devices and we are feeling more and more confident by the day that we’ll see at least one of them at CES in just 3 weeks from now. The early parts of 2020 are going to be absolutely crazy with new Chrome OS devices, and we can’t wait to try them all. Be sure you are subscribed to our newsletter so you don’t miss a beat!