While we are certainly expecting Chrome OS to continue to expand into a much larger mainstream market, news today of a Snapdragon Chromebook in development came as quite a surprise to me. We’re still anxiously awaiting AMD devices to be officially announced but a Chrome OS device powered by Qualcomm was really a back-burner project in our minds.
There are a number of reasons we haven’t seen a Qualcomm Chromebook grace the market. The greatest of these being long-term support as Google emphasizes five to six years of updates for all Chrome OS devices. Snapdragon chips historically only promise updates for roughly 2 years. Oil and water.
All that may have just drastically changed for the better.
Two new commits from the Chromium repository show not only support for Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 845 processor but an actual device in the works.
Qualcomm’s newest mobile chipset has yet to grace a smartphone with expected devices landing in early 2018 but yesterday’s additions to the Chromium repository clearly suggest that the groundwork is being laid for the first-ever Snapdragon Chromebook.
cheza / qc845: Add initial files
Before you get too excited, a deeper dive into the .ebuild file reveals that ‘Cheza’ is a reference board meaning new devices built with this chipset will use this board to pull initial configuration files.
This is a chipset specific overlay for QC845 systems to inherit.
Okay, you can get excited again because we are seeing the first phases of an actual Snapdragon Chromebook in the works and that is awesome. Not only that, it is the latest chipset from Qualcomm featuring an Octacore architecture designed with premium mobile devices in mind. The Snapdragon 845 is built with the same 10nm process as its predecessor, the 835 found in devices like the Pixel 2 from Google.
It is unclear how Qualcomm will overcome the need for long-term support but I would presume the details have or are being ironed out. With the nature of battery consumption, I would also suspect the new Snapdragon chips could be targeting the soon to be revealed Chrome OS tablet form-factor.
I will be reaching out to Qualcomm to see if they have any official comments on the matter. Stay tuned.
Fun Fact: Cheza is a character from the 2003 Anime series Wolf’s Rain.