As we unveiled yesterday, work is ongoing with a new baseboard called ‘Geralt’ that will finally give us a few ChromeOS tablets with internal processors that should be fantastic for work, creativity and consumption as well. While we’ve had some great detachable devices like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5 and Duet 3, none of the solid tablet options with ChromeOS on board have had the processing power to be fully relevant as both a work and play devices.
With the new MediaTek MT8188 inside, however, that is all about to change. This unannounced chip should bring a great balance of speed and battery life to ChromeOS tablets, utilizing the same large and small cores as the very-fast Kompanio 1380, only in a different configuration. The MT8188 will leverage only two of the larger Cortex-A78 cores and 6 of the smaller, more efficient Cortex-A55 cores. That means it will still have some serious speed, but also an improved battery life over the Kompanio 1380. A perfect fit for a tablet form factor if you ask me.
But ‘Geralt’ is simply a reference board and we’re on the lookout for actual production devices to begin showing up in the Chromium Repositories. While scouring for any new signs of devices attatched to this new baseboard, I did come across one point of interest that makes me even more excited for this new breed of ChromeOS tablets: the screen they are testing ‘Geralt’ with.
Again, ‘Geralt’ is a testing platform, not a device, but the hardware being used to test this prototype can give us a clue where new Chromebooks built on this platform are headed. For ‘Geralt’, we’re currently seeing the BOE TV110C9M being used for development, and it is a pretty impressive display for this sort of device.
From their landing page for this particular model, we can learn that the screen being tested on ‘Geralt’ is an 11-inch, 5:3 display with a 2000×1200 resolution. It also comes in at a nice, bright 400 nits with wide viewing angles, too. Again, this is being used for testing, but if it was only a random screen developers are using to simply see the basics with, the they could really be using any old display that is simply lying around.
Instead, they are using this particular panel that BOE has designated for tablet devices. While I’m not saying that all tablets based on ‘Geralt’ will come with this particular screen layout, it stands to reason that they will likely fall in this range.
While I like 11-inch tablets just fine, I’m hoping some larger options come available over time as well. I’d love to see another try at a 12 or 13-inch, 3:2 form factor again in the vein of something like the Pixel Slate. With this new processor inside, the device could be light, easy to use with one hand, and still have enough screen size to make sense on the desktop, too. The future looks quite bright for these upcoming tablets, and the more I dig for clues, the more excited I get for what is coming. Stay tuned.