We uncovered a new Chromebook in development by the name of ‘Bugzzy’ a few months back in August. Honestly, with the absolute slew of Jasper Lake Chromebooks in development at this point, it felt like just another affordable device to lump in with the rest. While I don’t want to undervalue or discredit the lower-end of the Chromebook price range, it’s no surprise that there are countless devices already available and numerous others on the way in this space. They all sort of look/act/perform alike, so when we find reference to a new one in development, it isn’t exactly cause to stop the press.
Such was the case with ‘Bugzzy’ – a ‘Dedede’ variant that, on the surface, doesn’t have any special traits to set it apart from the heap of other current-gen affordable Chromebooks. As a matter of fact, I threw it in with a handful of other devices in a post just to get them added to our running list of Chromebooks in development, and didn’t think about this one again until today.
Looking for Samsung
A few conversations today had me thinking about Samsung, though, and that began a bit of a hunt for what ‘Bugzzy’ might be. You see, I started off wondering if Samsung was making any new, high-end Chromebooks to carry on what they did with the Galaxy Chromebook and Galaxy Chromebook 2. From what I can tell, there’s no sign of any flagship Samsung Chromebooks in the works. But there are clear signs of them working on another affordable Jasper Lake-powered Chromebook. You guessed it: ‘Bugzzy’.
For Samsung Chromebooks, it’s always been pretty easy to spot them in the mix. All over devices like the Galaxy Chromebook, Galaxy Chromebook 2 and Galaxy Chromebook Go, there are email addresses involved in the development that end in @samsung.com. While these folks get involved to solve other Chrome OS issues here and there, they generally stick to working on Samsung’s own devices.
So, when I searched for Samsung in the Chromium Repositories, you can likely guess what I found a whole lot of: ‘Bugzzy’. Sure, there are newer commits for ‘Sasuke’ as well – the Galaxy Chromebook Go – but the overwhelming majority of recent changes in the Gerrit are for ‘Bugzzy’, and that made me curious.
After looking through a handful of commits, there is nothing really interesting on the surface for this new device. Sure, it is absolutely, 100% Samsung, but there are no additional features to initially get excited for. Nothing to make it stand out and nothing to make it make sense in a world where the affordable, Jasper Lake-powered Galaxy Chromebook Go exists. What, then, is Samsung up to with this new Chromebook?
A strange, yet-unexplained quirk
Then I found a very, very interesting commit for ‘Bugzzy’ that had me digging around for quite a while. I’ve not yet come to a solid conclusion on what this means for this upcoming Chromebook, but there sure are some big implications from what I found. First, the commit:
This is not usual language from the Chromium Repositories. Adding a ‘quirk’ for a ‘different type of panel from clamshell’ is pretty odd right off the bat. We’ve seen tablet screens get some different code in the back end to set them up as portrait mode-first devices, but the commits generally say that right up front. I’ve never seen language about adding a ‘quirk’ to a ‘different type of panel from clamshell’. So, I of course dug into the files in question, and this is what I found:
The ‘quirk’ in question is setting the display panel to a right-side-up orientation as default. And where ‘Bugzzy’ is being added for this quirk, it is surrounded by other devices – some Chromebooks, some not – that are clearly detachable laptops. The Acer S1003, ASUS T100, ASUS T101, and so forth are all devices that have a detachable form factor. Oh, and note the naming in the image above, calling this device not just ‘Bugzzy’, but samsung_bugzzy. As far as the manufacturer goes, that case is fully closed.
Granted, this commit is technically abandoned, but in the comments for it, we see that this ‘quirk’ is simply being handled in the BIOS so leveraging this change in this manner simply becomes unnecessary. It doesn’t mean the intended effect is being left behind. Instead, it is just being handled in a different manner.
So, is ‘Bugzzy’ a detachable?
Unfortunately, that’s all I can find at this point. While it is quite clear that Samsung is making ‘Bugzzy’, it isn’t quite as clear what this Chromebook will become. There’s no need to add a ‘quirk’ to orient the display panel if it is simply a clamshell Chromebook and honestly, Samsung has little reason to release another Jasper Lake, affordable Chromebook at this point with the Galaxy Chromebook Go already on store shelves.
So, what will it be? Right now, I don’t know. I’m hoping it is a tablet as I’ve really wondered why no one has made a small-core Intel tablet yet. These chips are more than capable of running a tablet quite well and they would make great work devices, too. Up to this point, that’s simply not been a thing, but it sure could be. If Samsung puts together a nice tablet with a solid keyboard and screen with something like the Pentium Silver inside, it could be formidable little Chromebook.
But for now, those are just hunches and dreams. You can bet I’ll be keeping a close eye on ‘Bugzzy’ from this point on and if I find any further evidence that this upcoming Chromebook is a tablet with Intel silicon inside, you can bet I’ll be sharing it as soon as possible. I’m very excited by the ARM-powered Chromebooks and tablets on the way, but I really think manufacturers are missing a great opportunity with Intel’s Jasper Lake in a detachable form factor. Maybe we’ll see what its capable of sooner than later.