It’s no secret: Chromebook sales are booming, demand is through the roof, and supplies are down. If you’ve even considered shopping for a Chromebook in the past few weeks, you feel the pain. Unfortunately, manufacturers generally don’t have the ability to quickly adjust, re-route, and fill in the gaps when something like a world-wide pandemic hits. Instead, Chromebooks development generally takes 6-9 months at least and we won’t see the entire market’s response to this inflated demand until late in 2020 and into the first quarter of 2021
Right in that spot, it seems MediaTek is aiming to launch a new processor in the MT8195 that is made especially with Chromebooks in mind. According to GizmoChina, these chips are said by MediaTek to “be similar to Apple’s upcoming Arm-based processors for MacBooks.” I’d recommend pumping the breaks a bit on that comparison as Apple’s Macbooks will be running on their latest, greatest A13 processors and we all know how those tend to wipe the floor with any other ARM-based chip out there at the moment.
Instead, I’m hoping these 6nm processors will be a big step up from what we are using in things like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet (MediaTek MT8183) while keeping prices for the Chromebooks they inhabit down to a minimum. After all, the other half of this announcement was the fact that MediaTek wants to be helpful in the introduction and launch of affordable Chromebooks. You don’t get insanely-high-powered chips on the cheap, so again, don’t expect this new MT8195 to blow off the doors.
There will be benefits to bringing the process down from 12nm in the current 8183 that we have in the Duet down to 6nm. It will certainly help performance a bit, but will also drastically improve battery life. The senior VP who made the announcement didn’t hit on exact specs for the cores or their speeds, so we’ll have to wait to hear exactly what we’re dealing with on that front, but the new chip will come with “advanced AI features,” 5G, and Wi-Fi 6. It stands to reason that Bluetooth 5 will be on board as well, but that wasn’t officially announced.
The Taiwan Education Digital Transformation Conference – which brought together Quanta, Acer, MediaTek and Google – was held this week, but there’s unfortunately very little on the internet about what else was introduced at the event. We’ve reached out to our contacts at both Acer and Google and will circle back with more details when/if we have them. For now, it is exciting to know that we’re looking at a new wave of MediaTek-powered Chromebooks on the horizon as we’ve been tracking one with a very similar processor – ‘Asurada’ and the MT8192 – so we’re obviously digging to see if there are any further details we can find. Stay tuned.