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.
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