I’m not saying that we’ve given up on the hopes of seeing a Qualcomm-powered Chromebook arrive by CES but at this point, I’m not holding my breath. The inexplicable delay of Snapdragon devices could very well help secure MediaTek’s market share of the Chrome OS space as development moves forward on a number of octa-core MT8183 devices.
To date, we have been tracking four baseboards being built on MediaTek’s unannounced chipset but this week, that number has literally doubled. Over the past two weeks, four devices built off of the ‘Kukui’ baseboard have been added to the Chromium repositories and are actively being developed. ‘Damu’, ‘Kappa’, ‘Kakadu’ and ‘Juniper’ are the four machines to join the lineup that already includes ‘Kukui‘, ‘Flapjack‘, ‘Krane‘ and ‘Jacuzzi‘.
Now, eight new Chromebooks may not seem that impressive in the grand scheme of things but we’re expecting the latest MediaTek chipset to be a major improvement over the previous model that powered the Acer Chromebook R13 and a number of Lenovo devices. With the relatively lower cost of ARM processors, these improvements could result in a large number of cost-effective consumer and EDU Chromebooks, tablets and detachables that actually offer decent performance when compared to the older MediaTek chip and even the OP1 RockChip processor found in the Samsung Chromebook Plus V1.
We don’t have a lot of details on the four new MediaTek devices but we’ll be digging into the commits to find out more as it arrives. Two of the Chromebooks are being produced by Bitland which has historically manufactured MediaTek devices for Lenovo. I suspect we’ll see a number of Chromebooks in varying form-factors from Lenovo and hopefully other OEMs as time passes. The Chrome OS universe is expanding rapidly and it is exciting.