Since we ran into the first Chromebooks powered by MediaTek’s latest Kompanio 520 at CES 2023, we’ve been keeping an eye out for more of them to begin showing up. The two device we saw out in Vegas – the ASUS Chromebook CM14 and CM14 Flip – were impressive in a few interesting ways, and though they aren’t yet generally available, there is a landing page up for the convertible version and we feel a release is right around the corner.
And now that we’ve had a little bit of hands-on time with these devices, I’m more inclined to keep close tabs on them. The outgoing MediaTek 500 wasn’t exactly an exciting processor for Chromebooks. It did power one of the most important Chromebook tablets ever made in the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, but it didn’t exactly do that with aplomb. Instead, it was just enough to get the job done and nothing more.
The Kompanio 520 looks to be a bit of a different story, supporting higher resolution displays, more multitasking abilities, and better wireless connection options as well. While the 520 won’t break any performance records, the devices we tested in Las Vegas were far faster than the original Duet for certain, and for a battery-sipping, entry-level SoC, I was pretty impressed by the general speed on display.
There are a lot of Chromebooks coming with these chips inside
Back in November, we talked about the rise of the Kompanio 520/528 and how there were already a few Chromebooks being built with this SoC inside. At the time, there were a total of 6 boards in development with one of those boards – ‘Corsola’ – being the main development board for the family.
Today, I can report that there are at least 6 more to add to the list, bringing the total all the way up to 12 at this point. That’s a bunch of new devices on the way with what should be affordable price points, decent performance, and stellar battery life.
The new entries are ‘Uldren’, ‘Staryu’, ‘Voltorb’, ‘Magneton’, ‘Tentacruel’ and ‘Tentacool’ so far as we can tell at the moment. This adds to the already-in-progress ‘Steelix’, ‘Rusty’, ‘Corsola’, ‘Amber’, ‘Krabby’, and ‘Kingler’ boards that we’ve already known about, and it makes us feel confident that a wave of these MediaTek Kompanio 520 devices could be coming any time now.
I’d wager we’ll see at least a few of them at the upcoming BETT 2023 conference that is set for later this week from March 29-31. This is an education-focused event that tends to see at least a few new Chromebooks arriving, and it would make a ton of sense for a few of those to have the MediaTek Kompanio 520 inside. We’ll be keeping an eye on the show for sure and on these new boards to try and get a feel for any specific new devices if we can find them. While the MediaTek MT8188 looks poised to deliver up some great new ARM-powered tablets, this Kompanio 520 could make for some great, affordable Chromebooks too. Stay tuned.