When Lenovo launched the original Chromebook Duet, it was a bit of a revelation in the space. No, tablets with detaching keyboards weren’t new at that point and they weren’t even new to the Chrome OS ecosystem, but the Duet arrived with something different. It was well-made, but inexpensive. The keyboard and kickstand came in the box. The internals were respectable and the screen was fantastic. It was the first Chrome OS tablet done right, and it sold like crazy for those exact reasons.
This year, Lenovo debuted another great device in the Chromebook Duet 5. Though I was a bit skeptical about it at first, it really grew on me. After just a day or so with it, I realized I didn’t want to be without it. While not the all-in-one Chromebook tablet I’ve been pining for, it is fun to use, great for content, and a workhorse when needed. We even were given the opportunity to give away 5 of them and I couldn’t have been happier to hand those devices out, knowing how much I enjoyed my time with it.
Not all Duets are created equal
But there was one problem with this new Duet: it wasn’t at all like its predecessor. Granted, I don’t think Lenovo was trying to replace or iterate on the original Duet, but many people on the internet made it look exactly that way. Instead of being treated like a different take on the Chromebook tablet (which it 100% is), the Duet 5 was crowned as the successor to the original, very-popular Chromebook Duet.
I’ve wondered about that since the announcement of the Duet 5, though, and the main question I’ve come back to is: why wouldn’t Lenovo rinse-and-repeat what it did with the original Duet? That tablet has had so much success that it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that we’d see a second version, right? And with what made the original such a success (good build, insane value, great screen, overall size), it really doesn’t feel like the current Duet 5 is positioned at all to repeat that sort of success.
The Duet 5 is great in its own right and I love the OLED screen, thin form factor, solid keyboard and quality build, but at $499, the 13.3-inch tablet doesn’t really play in the same waters as it’s so-called predecessor. So wide is the gap between these two devices that I’ve constantly wondered if Lenovo might still release a smaller Duet to be the true successor to the original.
A possible contender for a Chromebook Duet v2
We’ve talked about ‘Wormdingler’ before, but some new evidence has come to light that has me thinking this Chromebook tablet in development might actually be from Lenovo, might be in the same size category as the original Duet, and might even show up in two forms: consumer and education.
Where we’ve talked about ‘Wormdingler’ and ‘MrBland’ before is the fact that their display panels look to be either 11-inch or 10.1-inch at 1920×1200 resolution. That should sound familiar as those are the same resolution numbers from the original Duet. Though the original was 10.1-inches as was the education-focused variant (the Lenovo Chromebook 10e), I could see the consumer model being 11-inches and the education model sporting the smaller 10.1-inch display in this follow-up scenario. For these two devices development devices, both of these sizes are being tested.
But display sizes and dual-model development (the Duet and 10e were developed side-by-side as ‘Krane’ and ‘Kodama’) aren’t really enough to pin ‘Wormdingler’ and ‘MrBland’ on Lenovo. But there is always a reference to the battery, and in this case, both these devices are outfitted with Lenovo’s own battery packs. Check it out below:
With this in mind, the screen sizes, resolutions, and detachable natures of these devices have me quite certain that we’re looking at a follow-up to the original Duet in either a similar 10.1-inch or 11-inch form factor. How close we are to actually seeing these devices is unknown, but if Lenovo can once again put together a solid tablet with a good keyboard and bright, punchy screen for around $300, they’ll have another winner on their hands.
Taking some of what they’ve learned and mixing it with what they did in the Duet 5, I see no reason this can’t be done. I hope we’ll end up with the Snapdragon 7c Gen 2 in these devices as well since it showed itself to be a solid performer in the Duet 5. With some decent RAM and storage, these little tablets could be the Chromebook Duet sequel many have been waiting for. We’ll be keeping an eye on them for sure.