Last week, Robby put in some serious work rounding up all (or most) of the Chromebook boards that are currently in development. The list is extensive but today is a new day and that list is only getting larger. We have now uncovered not one but three new Tiger Lake Chromebooks that are in the works and I have a feeling that ASUS is behind a couple of them.
Tiger Lake is Intel’s next iteration of the company’s 10nm chip process that will be the successor to Ice Lake which was skipped entirely by Chrome OS developers. The CPU features Intel’s next-gen Xe graphics architecture and support for Thunderbolt 4 and USB4. It is unclear whether or not Chrome OS will leverage Thunderbolt anytime soon but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see devices with it and USB4 by this time next year. As we discussed in last week’s episode of The Chrome Cast, Tiger Lake Chromebooks will be the herald for the next generation of Chrome OS devices. At the foundation of these new devices is the baseboard ‘Volteer’. We aren’t sure if Volteer itself will be a Chromebook but like Comet Lake ‘Hatch’ devices, it will spawn the majority of the flagship Chromebooks of 2021/2022.
Counting Volteer, we have been tracking four Tiger Lake devices in total but this week, we uncovered three more. ‘Delbin’, ‘Mudada’ and ‘Terrador’ were all cloned from ‘Volteer’ at some point over the past week and despite having little detail on the specifics of each device, two of these boards revealed a clue about who the OEM may be. Based on the email of the commits owner, I have reason to believe that two of these upcoming Chromebooks will be produced by ASUS. Delbin and Mudada were both added to the repository by Michael Chen who is a developer for the PC manufacturer Pegatron. If you arent’ familiar with Pegatron, you probably aren’t alone. Now an independent ODM, Pegatron was once a manufacturing arm of ASUS. The company has since separated from ASUS but still produces a variety of ASUS’ hardware along with TVs, phones and more for other big-name OEMs.
The commits and Chen’s work on the device isn’t a smoking gun since Pegatron has also produced devices for Acer and others in the past. However, when looking through Mr. Chen’s work, I discovered that he appears to have worked exclusively on two devices over the past couple of years. Rammus and Leona. You probably know them better as the ASUS Chromebooks C433, C434 and C425. It stands to reason that Michael Chen is the “ASUS guy” at Pegatron and these two devices could very well be ASUS’ next premium Chromebooks. We’ll add these three Tiger Lake devices to our ever-evolving list and update you when we have more details on what they may look like.