Now that we are in the part of the year where we are finally starting to see some of the new Chromebooks emerge onto the scene, it is time to really begin casting our gaze towards what is next. We’ve outlined it a few times here, but when it comes to the future of Chrome OS and Intel, the new batch of next-gen hardware will be based on Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger Lake chips. These new processors bring a few great things along for the ride, but the main headline here is a 10nm process that first showed up in the Ice Lake 10th-gen chips that Google chose to skip for Chromebooks.
Shrinking the process on the chip speeds up standard functions, but also ends up using less battery, too. ARM processors have already moved past the 10nm process and are moving through 7nm and on to 5nm now. Intel and their x86 architecture is behind on this and the move to 10nm has taken far longer than originally anticipated. Regardless, it is great to see these newer processors from Intel finally hit that 10nm process as performance and battery life will be the primary benefactors. Check out Intel’s quick marketing card for the improvements we can all expect from Tiger Lake chips:
All that stuff is great news, and we’ve already tracked 3 other baseboards being developed with Tiger Lake chips on board in ‘Volteer’, ‘Ripto’ and ‘Deltaur’. Today’s new board – ‘Malefor’ – falls into the same camp as these previous devices, but because of a certain email address attached to many of the commits, it is clear that this particular device will be coming from Lenovo. Xiong Huang is almost completely attached to one device in the repositories: ‘Kodama’. If you aren’t familiar, ‘Kodama’ is the Lenovo 10e that was recently released. He also shows up on ‘Hana’ in a few places and that code name belongs to the Lenovo Yoga N23.
Beyond the knowledge that this is a Tiger Lake Chromebook being developed by Lenovo, there’s little else we can glean from the repositories right now. We’ll keep digging because as we’ve seen with the release of multiple ‘Hatch’-based Chromebooks, having the latest-gen Intel processors does not necessarily mean the device will be top-tier flagship material. The upcoming Lenovo Flex 5 is a perfect example of this. Sure, it is based on the same unibuild baseboard as the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, but these Chromebooks are simply in different leagues.
While it is certainly possible that this is the next line of Yoga-branded Chromebooks from Lenovo, that is simply a guess at this point. We’ll need more proof that this ‘Malefor’ device will be packing all the latest specs before making that claim. As it stands right now, there’s a good chance that one of the many ‘Hatch’ variants is actually a new Yoga Chromebook, so it’s really tough to sort out at this point. Time will tell, and as always, we’ll keep digging for more clues.