It isn’t often these days that we see a new Chromebook board show up with a feature we’ve never seen in a Chrome OS device. With the ‘Hatch’ family of devices on the way and their laundry list of features we’re already aware of, it almost feels as though there’s not much left to learn about these upcoming Chromebooks at this point.
As soon as I let myself think this, a new board emerges along with a few commits that have me scratching my head just a bit. The new board in question today is ‘Jinlon’ and it is clearly another derivative of ‘Hatch’, so we’re talking 10th-gen Comet Lake processors and support for things like backlit keys, fingerprint scanners, NVMe, WIFI 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and more.
A couple things we do know for sure will be along for the ride with ‘Jinlon’ are LTE support and a convertible form factor option. In this commit, we can see testing coincidentally happening for the power of the LTE antenna while in tablet mode, so this single commit gives away at least that much about ‘Jinlon’. We’re clearly looking at a device with the option of LTE and a 360-degree hinge.
At this point, it isn’t clear which of the other available features will be included in this variation, but there is a unique inclusion we’ve never seen before: dual fan support. Confused? Yeah, so are we. You can see clear language across a commit here and here that ‘Jinlon’ is making way for Chromebooks with dual fans on board.
jinlon: add dual fan control by ec This patch add ec manage with dual fan. Curretly common/thermal.c cannot monitor 2 or more participants at the same time. Our purposal is ec own thermal policy into the board.
What could possibly require two fans in a Chromebook? That much we simply don’t know at this point. Nothing we’ve found so far points to anything in ‘Jinlon’ that is internally that differentiated from other ‘Hatch’ Chromebooks. Usually more fans means more power, but even with a Core i7 variation, I can’t see a need to introduce a second fan.
If there was a discrete GPU or a Core i9, maybe I could understand. However, I don’t see that happening anytime soon, so I’m left a bit confused. I do know that I’ve seen some manufacturers utilize dual fans in very thin and light laptops that aren’t great at head dissipation, but we’ve simply never seen the need for that in a Chromebook up to this point.
As the work is clearly being put in to make it all work on ‘Jinlon’, there must be a reason for it. After all, an extra fan in your device isn’t exactly a selling point, so I’d imagine the entire effort is out of some form of necessity at this point. We’re keeping ‘Jinlon’ on the radar to see if we can discover the reason behind the dual fan setup, and we’ll be sure to alert you if we find any further info in the coming weeks.