Just last week, we found evidence pointing to the resurgence of the beloved detachable Chromebook form factor in development. For quite some time, things have been pretty quiet on that front and we’ve been wondering if or when we might finally see a manufacturer take another swing at the Chromebook tablet form factor.
Our findings from last week didn’t point to a particular device, however, and only led us to a baseboard being developed for future detachable Chromebooks to be built from. That board is code named ‘Geralt’ and it comes with the yet-unannounced MediaTek MT8188 that should slot itself in the Kompanio 1000 lineup. While not as powerful as the Kompanio 1380 in the Acer Chromebook Spin 513, this new MT8188 should still be quite fast and a great fit for a thin, light tablet.
The details around any other boards related to ‘Geralt’ have been scant, however, as the news that this development board is a tablet is a pretty recent revelation in the Chromium Repositories. Though I’ve been scouring for clues every day since finding ‘Geralt’, I’ve generally come up empty-handed so far. But just a few days ago, I dug around deep enough to find the very first reference to a ‘Geralt’ variant, code named ‘Whiteorchard’.
This single commit is the only MT8188 tablet we’ve found outside of the ‘Geralt’ development board, so I clearly don’t have any further info on this one to share at the moment. MediaTek-based Chromebooks have notably gone long periods of time in the development stage before branching out into actual manufacturer-specific boards, however, so I’m not too worried about the timeline at this point. We’ll see other variants soon enough, I think.
But with ‘Geralt’ clearly pulling much of the setup code from the other, previous Kompanio boards, much of the baseline work for this board should be done and I’d expect to begin seeing new variants pop up in the next month or so. How long those boards will take to actually materialize is another story, and we simply don’t have any answers on that front.
With more-established chipsets, things don’t always develop in the same timeline as those that came before, so looking at Kompanio 1380, 1200, or 820 devices might not be as much help in this instance. One somewhat similar point of reference is the newer Kompanio 520/528 Chromebooks that we saw at CES 2023 as those were built on a similar-yet-different platform as the other, existing Kompanio Chromebooks.
If we follow that development timeline, we’re looking at a little over a year in development before an actual product emerged from the work. ‘Geralt’ was added to the Chromium Repositories in July of 2022, so we could be looking at an actual device in the fall if that development cycle holds. For what it’s worth, I think things could possibly move a bit faster than that with this one, but a summer/fall release window for a few of these ‘Geralt’ based devices feels pretty realistic at this point. As always, we’ll keep searching.