The process for Qualcomm entering the Chrome OS space has been a long one. We first heard rumblings at the end of 2017 (yes, coming up on 2 years ago) and were given an official announcement by Qualcomm at the yearly Snapdragon Summit in December of 2018. The official statement from that time was that we should expect to see Snapdragon 845 Chromebooks by the second half of 2019.
We’re just now arriving in that promised timeframe, so I’m not doubting what we’re all hoping to see, but our constant scouring of the Chromium Repositories has only shed light on a couple Qualcomm devices up to this point: ‘Cheza’ and ‘Trogdor’. Meanwhile, development on a slew of MediaTek 81813 devices has continued moving forward with multiple baseboards and form factors being tested for what we believe will be a fall release.
Sure, the bulk of the Snapdragon Chromebooks could all be ‘Cheza’-based variations, but that just isn’t how other devices have been developed prior. In general, there’s a baseboard or unibuild and various devices branch off from that one starting point with unique board names for each device nested inside that board. While we’re still not seeing that play out just yet, we are seeing more action on Qualcomm-based devices in the form of ‘Trogdor’ and now in’ Bubs’.
The reason I’m a bit careful about saying exactly what processor we’re dealing with in these devices is due to the fact that we aren’t exactly sure. For instance, with ‘Trogdor’, you can see the board being rebased to the QC7180 chipset in this commit (it was based on ‘Cheza’ at first, so it is clear we’re not dealing with a Snapdragon 845 any longer):
Add chipset-qc7180 overlay, rebase baseboard-trogdor to it
This is the overlay for the Qualcomm SC7180. Name it qc7180 instead since for some reason that seems to be how we prefix all Qualcomm overlays.
Just copying everything from qc845 for now, can be fixed later if necessary. Dropped the testclock utility — if we decide that we also need that here, we should probably find a better home for it.
That’s pretty clear, right? I thought so until I began searching for the Qualcomm 7180 and guess what I found? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. From what I can tell, there is nothing made by Qualcomm that has this particular model number. At first, I was extremely confused, and then I found this comment below above-mentioned commit that made be feel a tad better:
Patch Set 1:
Can’t wait to see how Chrome Unboxed will spin this one…
Clearly, whatever we’re dealing with isn’t quite straightforward and in the time I’ve been trying to figure this one out, I didn’t want to make a post about this new chipset until I could get a better answer. I don’t have that answer yet, so we’re still scratching our heads a bit trying to figure out what exactly the QC7180 is. That hasn’t stopped devs from moving on to another device based on this exact same board and chipset, though. Again, the language is quite clear: we’re seeing a new board emerge that is based on the highly-mysterious ‘Trogdor’ baseboard in the form of ‘Bubs’:
overlay-bubs: Create bubs as a child of baseboard-trogdor
So far, there’s not been much development on either ‘Trogdor’ or ‘Bubs’, but I’m checking nearly every day to see where these boards go next. As I said earlier, these aren’t the Snapdragon 845 boards I would be expecting to see right now, but I’m happy that there are some variations showing up in the repositories either way. We’ll keep our eye on ‘Bubs’ and obviously keep you all updated when we know more about either of these two boards in development.
While it is becoming a tad troubling that we aren’t seeing ‘Cheza’ – the original Qualcomm baseboard – spawn off quite a few baseboards at this point, perhaps there is simply more to the story than we can find at this point. With us being firmly in the second half of 2019, the lack of clarity is becoming worrisome. I suppose since this is Qualcomm and they aren’t too keen on open source development with their chips, maybe there is development happening behind the scenes with all the ‘Cheza’ variants we’re expecting to see later in 2019. We shall see.