I remember a day when finding one new Chromebook development board was cause for celebration and excitement. I remember the thrill of the hunt and the days following a new find, filled with digging and questions around what this new Chromebook would end up becoming. Those were simpler days and we always knew there would come a time when the number of Chromebooks in development would make it nearly impossible to keep tabs on them all. We’re in that future, now, and the sheer volume of new Chromebooks in development is simply unprecedented.
We have a post that I’d recommend you bookmark if you like keeping up with this kind of thing. As we find new devices in development, we add them to that single post and try to keep it as updated as possible. From that single page, you can see all the devices we are keeping an eye on and get a better feel for the absolute mess of Chromebooks that are coming to market in the coming months.
For this post, however, I want to shine a light on a few newer devices we’ve come across while scouring the Chromium Repositories in search of new features and other Chrome OS goodies. Like other devices we come across, we know very little about these Chromebooks apart from what baseboard they are built on at this point. For some of them, details will end up surfacing over time and for others, we won’t know any other finer points until the device shows up in our office. It’s just the way of things and when compared to only having a new board here or there to talk about, I’d rather be in the midst of this current deluge. With that, let’s look at what’s new.
New ‘Volteer’ Chromebooks
The current bell of the ball is ‘Volteer’ and the 11th-gen Tiger Lake chips devices built on this baseboard will contain. These devices will have the option of USB 4.0, Thunderbolt, Intel’s new Xe GPU, and enhanced performance/battery life. Just like the current ‘Hatch’ Chromebooks we’ve watched launch in 2020 (Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, Acer Chromebook Spin 713, etc.), ‘Volteer’ Chromebooks may show up late in 2020 and will dominate the release cycles in 2021. Here are the new ones:
New ‘Zork’ Chromebooks
The other big development category right now is the group of devices based on ‘Zork’. These Chromebooks will be distinctive in the fact that they possess flagship-level AMD APUs that combine powerful AMD chips with Ryzen GPUs. While we’ve had a handful of AMD A4 and A6 Chromebooks, the processors inside were budget and meant for affordable devices. These ‘Zork’ boards are meant for bigger, better things and we’re very excited to see them begin to arrive as the movement on Steam gaming for Chromebooks is accelerating. Here are the newest additions:
New ‘Kukui’ Chromebooks
‘Kukui’ Chromebooks bring things back to 2020 development and are responsible for devices like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet and 10e. Those devices only scratch the surface of what we’re expecting to see in the affordable Chromebook category from this baseboard. There are many ‘Kukui’ boards that have been in the works for quite some time and we’re adding a few more to the mix:
New ‘Dedede’ Chromebooks
Finally, our ‘Dedede’ family is based on the upcoming Jasper Lake chip set from Intel. These new chips may not be as flashy as the Tiger Lake chips that are pushing flagship machines, but their smaller process (10nm) and increased speed and graphics will make them awesome chips for mid-range Chromebooks. The current crop of Gemini Lake Chromebooks are impressive in their battery life and performance at low prices, so we’d expect even better cost/performance ratios with Jasper Lake when they arrive. Here are the new additions:
For now, that is all we’ve found to add to the ongoing list of tracked, upcoming Chromebooks. We’re always on the hunt for more and we fully expect to see more AMD and Intel Tiger Lake devices pop up for the next few months. It’s an exciting time to be a Chromebook fan and we cannot wait to see the fruits of all this labor by the Chrome OS team. Stay tuned.