We now have evidence of two more 9th Gen Comet Lake Chromebooks in development and that reinforces our belief that Chrome OS has made its way into the mainstream of the computing world.
For the uninitiated, Comet Lake processors are the next 14nm chip iteration from Intel that will reportedly bridge the gap to the upcoming 10nm Ice Lake series. (whenever those arrive) We haven’t seen any devices powered by Comet Lake at this point but there are already at least four Chromebooks under development using Intel’s new CPU.
We are very confident that one of these devices will be coming from Samsung. ‘Kohaku’ began development back in April and that puts its production schedule right in line with a CES launch. This would put Samsung on a three-year cycle for flagship devices following the Samsung Pro’s debut back in 2017.
The latest Comet Lake Chromebooks were just added to the repositories over the past two weeks and we don’t have a lot of info at this point. Still, it is clear that flagship Chromebooks are here to stay and we can expect 9th gen devices to be arriving from the major OEMs around the new year or shortly thereafter.
Helios and Kindred
Cool names aside, the only thing we know at this point is that these devices are built on the ‘Hatch’ board and that ‘Helios’ will definitely not have USB-A ports. This isn’t much of a surprise as premium devices seem to be going the direction of USB-C.
Helios will not have any USB-A ports so can remove EC support for that feature. The GPIO signals for this feature are routed to test points and so have kept those signals but changed them to GPIO_INPUTS to avoid any potential leakage issues.Chromium Commit
It also appears that, despite having support for it, Comet Lake devices will use MST(multi-stream transport) on a per-device basis.
hatch: Make MST support optional for subboardsChromium Commit
I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to support daisy-chaining monitors but clearly, OEMs want the option. Anyway, we’ll be adding Helios and Kindred to the watchlist in the hopes of getting some more detail and perhaps, finding out who’s behind these premium Chromebooks.