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This Is Rockchip’s New Quad-Core ARM Chromebook

Rockchip wants to rival Exynos-based Chrome devices with powerful new chip

rockchip chromebook

It might look like a cheap imitation of Apple’s MacBook Air but the device above is in fact a new ARM-based Chromebook from ARM processor makers Rockchip.

The ‘RK3288 Chromebook’, shown off to select journalists at Computex last week, features a 13.3-inch screen (1366×768) and a quad-core ARM Cortex A17¹ CPU running at 1.8GHz. This is paired with 2GB RAM and a Mali-T674 GPU capable of powering a 4K monitor.

Its appearance is not a surprise, however. We already knew Google was testing a Rockchip board with the same specifications, codenamed ‘Veyron‘, while the company had previously demoed Chromium OS running on the RK3288 CPU last month.

Chromebook Air

Showing off an early prototype of the device to the effusive Charbax of ARM Devices, we learn that the Rockchip-based device is currently running ChromiumOS (not regular ChromeOS). This difference is likely a temporary one for development purposes, so it doesn’t auto-update, or include some of the (arguably necessary) extras Chrome OS offers, like Adobe Flash and a built-in PDF reader.

‘Rockchip has no plans to manufacture these puppies themselves’

But that’s fine because this is a prototype and not a finished design. In fact, Rockchip has no plans to manufacture these puppies themselves. Instead, they’re offering the reference design built around their RK3288 SoC to other OEMs. The benefit of these technical blueprints being offered is twofold: OEMs can get to market with a new device quicker, while component makers increase the chances that their hardware will be used in them.

And it seems that Rockchip already has takers. Charbax reports that a Chromebook based on the RK3288 will launch worldwide sometime in August or September from an as-yet-unnamed vendor. The price will be ‘attractive’ — based on a little rumour we’ve heard, it may be the cheapest Chromebook on the market.

You can see Charbax’s video below.

¹The chip used in this device is sometimes referred to as a Cortex-A12 rather than A17.
  • Really, really looks like a MacBook Air. But MacBook Air’s design is great so why not. But it doesn’t allow this Chromebook to be more powerful though.

  • Corey Wood

    That screen resolution? “Can Power up to a 4k monitor”, yet you give us a screen that rubbish. 1920×1080 please so I can consider getting a chromebook.

    • HaughtiestZombieChic .

      Samsung chromebook 2 13.3 has an 1920×1080 screen resolution.

      • Corey Wood

        I know but it’s the same price as normal laptops. I might as well just buy myself a laptop

        • Mobile_Dom

          what other “normal laptop” at that price has a 1080p screen?

    • Sebastiaan Franken

      What’d you expect for a cheap device? If the price of a device is low the OEM saved on the most expensive part: the screen. If you want a Full-HD screen go with a Chromebook 2 from Samsung or the Google Pixel

  • I hope they get google certifacation. They are doing good things. I also hope they port their chromium os to their radxa development board.

  • Sean Lumly

    I think you mean Mali 764, and in that case, I think you mean Mali 760 MP4..

    • Sean Lumly

      I was incorrect. The Mali T760 MP4 can indeed be referred to as the Mali T764.

    • Sean Lumly

      Last correction: Mali T764 is officially incorrect. Mali T760 MP4 is the correct nomenclature.

  • ProfessorPortal

    I really loathe when OEM’s make a chromebook look the MBA. Please god make it look any other way. I forget which but one were all black save for the lid which was white. That looked good. Stop lusting after the Apple look.

    • ap3604

      The MBA has a sleek, appealing look that the majority of customers like (hence why they used it). I couldn’t care less if OEM’s copy the great looking MBA.

      • ProfessorPortal

        I agree this style is very aesthetically pleasing but this is besides the point. To outright copy such a look makes it look like they wanted to imitate said product. Which I find quite sad. Make it their own design, unique.

        • ap3604

          I couldn’t care less if a company decides to copy a great look of a successful product. If anything we don’t have ENOUGH copying atm. Too much emphasis is placed on being unique and coming out with their own design that products come out looking like $%#! (exp: Samsung Chromebook fake leather stitching)

          Bring on the MBA copycats!

          • HarryWarden

            Completely agree. For all its faults, Apple is known for its design prowess with most everything they produce and the MBA is an example of this.

  • Kenny Strawn

    Code-named ‘Veyron‘…?!?! If it’s four 64-bit Cortex A17 cores, that honestly sounds like a perfect code-name for it…

    • Mobile_Dom

      the A17’s are 32bit

  • So how will it compare with ARM?

    • David Li

      The Rockchip is arm-based. It will likely be about as fast as current Exynos 5 Dual Chromebooks (HP 11, Samsung’s) but slower than Samsung’s Chromebook 2. However, I somehow doubt it will ever come to market as a full Chrome OS device, updated by Google for 5 years.

      • So what differentiates it from Samsung’s Exynos processors then? Is it cheaper?

        • Wesley Files

          I don’t know if it’s cheaper than the Exynos 5 Octa…..considering Rockchip is a Chinese company, smaller than Samsung, I think it’s probably cheaper. Cheaper either because Rockchip is willing to make less on each unit sold, they might not pay their workers as well, or both.

          The difference:
          The Exynos 5 Octa works with higher-power cores and lower-power cores, switching between them as needed. The Rockchip only works with one kind of core (4 of this kind), but this kind of core is more efficient than the Octa’s higher-power cores. The lower-power cores of the Octa will still be able to draw less power if the task was manageable with only those, so battery savings might be in favor of the Octa with lesser tasks, but in favor of the Rockchip with heavier tasks.
          The other big difference is their GPU. The Rockchip shown here easily has a stronger GPU, perhaps overkill for Chrome OS.

      • Spacey

        Should be a bit speedier with A17 cores. If its half decent and a price tag under $189 / £149 would get my money.

  • Riley Biers

    Damn Asians always ripping off designs. Are they capable of a single original thought?

  • It would be cool if the OEMs left the rockchip branding on it. I think it makes it look cool.

    • jsebean

      I think the total opposite…

  • Akshay Sharma

    If it will be cheap , it is good for consumers.