A new, upcoming line of Chromebooks is coming at some point in the relatively-near future that will likely shake up the competition. We’ve talked about them for quite some time, but we’re still sitting and waiting for higher-end AMD-powered Chromebooks to arrive on the scene. Sure, we’ve had the low-end A4 and A6 chips in a handful of devices dating back to 2019, but those aren’t really the AMD chips we’re excited for. Instead, the ‘Picasso’ line – AMD’s higher-end chip sets – is what we’re all eagerly anticipating, and that’s what new Chromebooks built off of the ‘Zork’ baseboard will be.
If Windows PC trends are anything to go by, comapanies that opt for AMD processors in their laptops see pretty significant price drops without much of a trade-off in operating power. Take the latest buzz-worthy Windows laptop from Lenovo: The Flex 5 14. This laptop is arriving with 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, the AMD Ryzen 4500U processor (on par with the current Core i5 from Intel), and the pen in the box for only $599. That is insane! For reference, the Intel Core i3 version of this device with only 4GB of RAM and 128GB of SSD storage is nearly the same price at $559.
All this shows the impact AMD processors can make in the laptop space. For Chromebooks, we’re insanely hopeful that processors like these begin shipping soon in devices so that prices can stay the same as current hardware while improving on nearly everything across the board. Imagine a $499 Chromebook with 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, the pen in the box, a high-quality screen, nice build and great input methods. Perhaps AMD chips – if and when they finally start shipping – will bring us a huge price war in the Chromebook space that the Lenovo Flex 5 has already began.
Now, about that pen
Now that we have a bit of history out of the way, the thing we’ve found that is exciting in the ‘Zork’ baseboard that is the fact that it now has support for internal, stowed pens. According to the files in this commit, the language is quite clear that the ‘Zork’ board will be capable of housing an internally-stored stylus:
zork: Set use internal stylus for zork overlay.
Inidicates that this board has an internal stylus.
While we really hope the USI pen initiative takes off in the coming months, the truth is many people (including myself) prefer a pen that can be stored inside the Chromebook itself. Devices like the Dell Inspiron Chromebook and the Acer Spin 13 showed that internal pens don’t have to be dinky toothpicks, too, and both had comfortable, large, internally-stowable pens that came with them.
I suppose that is the other perk, too. An internal stylus hints at the fact that the pen will be included with the Chromebook purchase instead of being relegated to a secondary accessory. For what most people are using a stylus on a Chromebook for, a simple EMR pen that we generally see in devices like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook are just fine for everything you’d want to digitally ink on your device.
At this point, we don’t know for sure which ‘Zork’ devices will utilize these newfound pen abilities (there are 5 in the family at this point), but we’re hopeful that at least a few Chromebooks will come from this family of boards with a stylus in the box and, more specifically, in the device’s actual frame. We’re obviously digging around to find any and everything we can about these new Chromebooks, so stay tuned for more from ‘Zork’.