On a fairly-regular basis, we check the Chromium Repositories for quite a few things. However, there are few upcoming development boards I’ve been waiting for with such anticipation as the upcoming devices leveraging the latest, greatest MediaTek chips inside. We talked about this announcement at length in posts and videos, but there’s been no real sign of development thus far for MediaTek’s highest-end chipset – the MT8195 – in any Chromebook up to this point. With a promised 2nd-half of 2021 launch window, time was starting to get a bit short.
MT8192 and MT8195
Again, we’ve talked about both of MediaTek’s upcoming processors built from the ground up for Chromebooks, but it is at least worth giving this all a once-over before talking about what we found last night. Back in November, MediaTek formally announced their plans to launch two new Chromebook-centric chips in the MT8192 and MT8195. They laid out what we could expect from these chips and we in turn laid out why all this was important.
Alongside the existing low-power MT8183 that resides in devices like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, MediaTek is taking truly Chromebooks seriously with these new chips. The MT8192 will be a mid-range chip with far more capability that the current MediaTek Chromebooks can offer. But the even more powerful MT8195 will be the first truly flagship-caliber ARM chip we’ve seen in a Chromebook. To put it in better context, it would be like Qualcomm going from the Snapdragon 730 that is in the Pixel 4a to the Snapdragon 765 that powered last year’s flagship phones. It’s a big step forward for both MediaTek and Chromebook users alike.
MT8195 finally in development
All that being said, we’ve been tracking the MT8192 for a very long time at this point. It has actually been just under a year since we first saw signs of ‘Asurada’ and ‘Hyato’ in the Chromium Repositories. Back then, we didn’t know exactly what the MT8192 would be, but we knew these boards represented the next step for MediaTek-powered Chromebooks.
Once the official announcement for these new chips happened, we immediately began searching for signs of development of new devices with the MT8195 on board and continued to come up empty. November, December, and January all went by with no sign of development for this new chip and I honestly started to wonder if perhaps some production issues had come up.
To be fair, I’d wager much of the work done for the existing MediaTek chips and the year’s worth of changes logged for the MT8192 would translate to some worthwhile development on this new MT8195, but to have a brand new chip in Chromebooks by the end of the year, I knew the MT8195 would need to show up soon and actually become part of a few development boards before the window began to close.
Last night as I was digging around in the Chromium Repositories, I thought to run a search for the new MT8195 and fully expected it to return nothing as it always has. But not this time. Instead, a handful of results came back and we can now say that the MT8195 is officially in development and something we can keep tabs on moving forward. There’s nothing of much substance yet and no boards to actually speak of, but the fact that we’re now seeing MT8195 additions to the repositories means it’s only a matter of time before the first development boards begin arriving.
With MediaTek taking the approach of building chips specifically for Chromebooks, I’m excited to see where all of this goes and even more excited to see what Chromebooks with these chips inside will not only look like from a form factor perspective, but from a speed and capability angle as well. We can speculate and consider this for the rest of the year, however, as we don’t expect these devices to show up until late 2021. Until then, we’ll be digging and trying to better understand what MT8195 Chromebooks will be like before they arrive.