Over the last couple days, there has been some fun news surrounding Chromebases and Chromeboxes on the way in the future. Notably, we have a family of ARM-powered Chromebases (with the MediaTek Kompanio 1380) beginning development and a few new Chromeboxes added to the already-established ‘Brask’ family of 12th-gen Intel-powered devices. The former could bring us some fun, new form factors while the latter will eventually materialize as a handful of very powerful desktop computing boxes.
In looking a bit closer at one of those new Chromeboxes being developed, however, I noticed something I’d not seen in the Chromium Repositories before: a reference to a manufacturer that has yet to establish an identity as a Chromebook maker. While known mainly for their Windows-based gaming laptops, MSI is a full-blown laptop manufacturer that has solutions for regular consumers, creators and gamers alike. Their space in the gaming laptop industry is dominant, however, and that makes all of this a bit more interesting.
After seeing this @msi.corp-partner.google.com email address on all the ‘Voshyr’ Chromebox commits, it struck me that MSI has never been involved in a ChromeOS device up to this point. Searching the repositories for this email domain only turned up references to ‘Voshyr’, further solidifying that this is something new and never seen before in the ChromeOS space.
A gaming-focused Chromebox
With Steam for Chromebooks on the way later in the year, full support for all cloud gaming platforms (Stadia, GeForce NOW, and Luna) and a nice selection of Android games, it makes sense that we could see a gaming-focused Chromebox before too long from MSI. Sure, the company makes non-gaming hardware, but their focus is clearly on gaming devices for sure.
I could see an MSI Chromebox fully leaning into this with a few RGB flares on the outside and perhaps a bundled keyboard/mouse that completes the package. With 12th-gen Intel processors inside, ‘Voshyr’ should be good to go out of the box and the possibility of a dedicated GPU or external GPU support via Thunderbolt can’t be ruled out at this point, either.
In the end, MSI could launch ‘Voshyr’ as a simple Chromebox and maybe they see this as the simplest way to enter the ChromeOS market. While that could be true, I’m very inclined to think this move is more gaming-related. Time will tell, obviously, but you can bet we’ll be keeping a very close eye on the development of this Chromebox. We’ve been saying it for a while that a few gaming-focused Chromebooks could be headed our way before long, and this little MSI Chromebox could be a very fun addition to that conversation.