We’ve been talking quite a bit about a new set of Chromebooks on the way that utilize the upcoming MediaTek MT8188 SoC. Known only as ‘Geralt’ for now, the baseboard for these devices is being tested with all sorts of hardware in preparation for variations to begin showing up. As we’ve seen with prior MediaTek baseboards, however, the variations won’t come until way closer to the devices actually shipping out.
While I could see a handful of new ChromeOS tablets coming from this particular ‘Geralt’ baseboard, there’s only been one I’ve felt confident was on the way so far: a follow-up to the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 5. And that evidence was squarely focused on the fact that one of the screens being tested on the ‘Geralt’ board is the exact same 1080p OLED panel that is used on the current Duet 5.
Another display, another Duet
And in the same fashion, I spotted another display panel being tested on ‘Geralt’ in the BOE TV110c9m. While this model number doesn’t mean much to anyone at first glance, a quick search in the Chromium Repositories unveils that this exact panel is the one tested for none other than ‘Wormdingler’ – A.K.A. the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 3.
While Lenovo is clearly free to do as it wishes with any of their future devices, it would make a ton of sense for them to keep much of the exterior of the Duet 3 and Duet 5 and simply upgrade the internals. Sure, a better overall keyboard/trackpad on the Duet 5 would be nice and I’d love to see the speakers tuned up a bit more, but the overall build quality and screen of both Lenovo’s Chromebook tablets are quite good overall. So good, in fact, that I’d not blame them for sticking pretty close to what they are right now in a new version.
I could imagine a few tweaks here and there to both tablets and their folio covers, but overall the upgrade to the far more powerful MediaTek MT8188 would be all I’d need to get very excited by the prospect of a new set of Duet tablets from Lenovo. Both of those current devices get so much right that they are pretty great to use already. Kick up the performance a bit and something like the Duet 5 with the MT8188 inside could finally be the Chromebook tablet that I could use for work and for play.
The timing on all of this is still very much up in the air, but I imagine devices like these could definitely find a place on the new ‘Chromebook X’ (‘Chromebook Plus’) list if things fall in place correctly. While the yet-unreleased MT8188 isn’t on the current ‘Chromebook X’ list, I have little doubt that it will be when it does arrive. And I’d wager we could see these devices in Q4 of this year as well.
‘Geralt’ has been in development for quite some time – right at a year at this point – and the MT8188 has been in the works for right at the same amount of time. So that means we are well within the range of a product launch at this point, especially given the nature of the MT8188 and its similarities to the already-launched MT8195 (or the Kompanio 1380). With all that in mind, I fully expect to see at least one of these ‘Geralt’ based devices out before 2023 comes to a close, and if my gut is correct, it could be a real head-turner when it does arrive.