It’s only been recently that the new Snapdragon 7c-powered tablet with the code name ‘Coachz’ became part of our normal conversations. After all, with the absolute onslaught of upcoming Chrome OS devices on the horizon, it is easy to lose track of all the fun hardware we’re going to be introduced to in the coming months. The reason ‘Coachz’ has stayed on my mind through all of it is the fact that this is the only Snapdragon 7c Chromebook we’re tracking at this time that is clearly made to be a tablet.
I’m still in the camp that loves the idea of a tablet that can also act as my laptop in most cases. Though the Pixel Slate was a failure for me in the fact that it was way too large and heavy to be a good tablet, the Duet has failed in the fact that it can’t properly plug into external monitors, has too cramped of a keyboard, and is a bit too slow for my daily tasks.
Of the two, the Duet is closer to what I’m looking for as a light, thin, portable Chrome OS device that I can use for both work and play, so I’m patiently (and anxiously) hopeful that, perhaps, ‘Coachz’ and its Snapdragon 7c might end up being more in line with what I’m after. Thus, it has stayed top of mind for me. Last night, I came across an interesting commit for ‘Coachz’ in the Chromium Repositories that make me even more excited for this upcoming Chrome OS tablet and it revolves around NFC and wireless charging:
PCHG: Add ctn730 driver
CTN730 is a NFC/WLC transmitter (a.k.a. poller), which communicates with a receiver (a.k.a. listener) to transfer power wirelessly.
TEST=Coachz proto using listener evaluation board from demo kit.via the Chromium Gerrit
From this change, it is clear that ‘Coachz’ will be using an NFC/WLC which hints at the ability for this device to leverage wireless charging, but we also see more detail in the config.h file that is attached in the commit that tells us we’ll likely see Qi wireless charging in this Chromebook tablet (hint – WPC stands for Wireless Power Consortium and Qi is the most adopted wireless charging standard available):
Enable peripheral charge manager (e.g. NFC/WLC, WPC Qi)
Enable CTN730 driver
CTN730 is NXP’s NFC/WLC power transmitter (a.k.a. poller).via the Chromium Gerrit
Being curious like I am, I continued to dig around a bit more to see what sort of other tidbits I could find in relation to ‘Coachz’ and wireless charging, and I came across a very interesting commit that shows this charging will not only be for the device itself, but for peripherals, too. In my mind, this points to one, main trait: reverse wireless charging for things like phones, earbuds, etc. With Qi already established as on board from the prior commit, the language in this next change seals the deal:
PCHG: Add peripheral charge manager
Peripheral charge manager communicates with peripheral charge chips to charge batteries of peripheral devices. Only charging and reading battery percentage are implemented. Host command, error handling, pausing, for example, are not yet included.
TEST=Coachz proto using listener evaluation board from demo kit.via the Chromium Respositories
In pretty clear language, it looks like this Snapdragon 7c tablet will possess some wireless charging tricks we’ve yet to see on any Chromebook up until now. We’ve seen plenty of phones – even the less-expensive Pixel 5 – get outfitted with both wireless charging and reverse wireless charging, but no Chromebook has even attempted this. While I understand not really having a use for wireless charging on a standard size Chromebook with a big battery (the charge time would take forever), I can see this working for ‘Coachz’ in a few ways.
First, since this will be a tablet and an ARM-powered one, we won’t see a massive battery like we have in Intel-powered Chromebooks. This means that wireless top-ups are far more realistic and useful for consumers. Second, since this device will be highly mobile, having the ability to set your phone or earbuds on it to top them up will be highly useful and even better than what you get on your phone. While we won’t have a standard laptop battery here, we’ll definitely have a larger battery than you get on a phone, so sharing that extra juice with other devices makes a lot of sense while users are on the go.
‘Coachz’ is starting to take shape and we’re digging for more clues about this already-compelling Chromebook tablet. Stay tuned for more updates as I’m confident there is more to share in the coming days about our first-ever Snapdragon Chromebook tablet.