Though we’ve yet to see a Chrome OS Tablet in the flesh and actually use it, the idea has long been an intriguing one. With Android apps coming into fullness over the next few versions of Chrome OS, the stage is set for the arrival of tablets and detachables. With these new details, ‘Scarlet’ is quickly becoming a tablet I’m very excited about.
What We Know So Far
Up to this point, we’ve uncovered quite a few things about ‘Scarlet’.
- RK3399 Processor (Same as Samsung Chromebook Plus)
- Tablet, not detachable
- 7.9-inch display
- 1024×768 resolution
- Front (5MP) and Rear (8MP) Cameras
Though not a full feature set, this gives us a generalized idea of what we are going to see with this tablet. Today, we have a few more details to add to the mix.
This first one is a bit of an assumption. Though we have the model of the display being tested (and we’re seeing more commits mentioning this display, so we’re inclined to think it is not a test setup), every search we’ve attempted has come up empty. Most times we can at least find some reference to a display when we search by model, but this time there’s nothing out there.
What we do have is a manufacturer: Innolux. Heading straight to their website and looking through their products, we can at least see a page that lists their 8-inch displays. While these don’t match the exact size (7.85 inches) or resolution (1024×768), these displays are the closest things we can find from Innolux.
The encouraging part? All their smaller displays have brightness ratings of 350-400 nits. For reference, the Samsung Chromebook Plus has a crazy-bright display and is rated at 400 nits. This means ‘Scarlet’ should have a nice, bright display to feast your eyes on.
We’ve found other Chrome OS devices coming this year that will utilize a fingerprint scanner, but nothing has made it to market yet.
It looks like we have confirmation from this commit that the FPC 1020 will be utilized for ‘Scarlet’. It can be viewed here and isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but a small tablet that is highly portable will benefit greatly from this feature. With smartphones almost universally starting to ship with fingerprint scanners, a small tablet without this feature would feel like it was missing something.
Though we should start seeing all manner of Chrome OS devices with fingerprint scanners soon, this feature definitely feels at home on a smaller tablet.
When Could We See This Device
Here’s the interesting part. ‘Scarlet’ is based on a board that is already out in the wild with the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Much of the work has been done for the core Chrome OS experience.
However, there are some unique challenges that need to be navigated with these tablets as Chrome OS becomes ready to be a tablet OS. Android Apps need to become resizable. Tablet mode on Chrome OS needs some polish. And keyboard implementation needs to get better for touchscreen input.
These fixes and tweaks will help convertibles and detachables as well, so all this work is beneficial across the board. However, it is still work that needs to be done.
Between that work and the standard work that has to be done for any Chrome OS device to hit store shelves, it could still be some time yet. If I had to bet, I’d say somewhere near the end of Q2 we might see this device come out. Chrome OS 57 should drop this week, so 58 and presumably Android 7.1.1 should arrive by the end of April. At that point, I think we could be on the road to more detachable and tablet devices moving forward.