First Intel Cannon Lake Chromebook may be a Detachable

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It’s been pretty quiet on the Chromebook front lately, but that doesn’t mean developments aren’t happening behind the scenes. Recently, an Acer Chrome OS tablet was discovered at Bett 2018; Chromebooks powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 and Intel’s Apollo Lake platform might be on the way; Samsung’s detachable “Nautilus” Chromebook is rumored to get a Sony IMX258 camera sensor; and we’ve seen evidence of wake on voice support in detachable Chromebooks Soraka and Poppy.

In November, Chrome Unboxed reported that a new Chromebook codenamed “meowth” was in development. It’s said to be the first powered by Intel’s 10nm Cannon Lake platform, which hasn’t been released yet. There weren’t (and still aren’t) any details about the laptop’s specifications or release timeframe, but new commits on the Chromium Gerrit hint that it might be a detachable Chromebook.

Commit number 888222, titled, “common: Add base detection support”, mentions a “detachable base” and “ADB pins”. Here’s the description:

This commit adds a common framework for detecting a detachable base. The framework requires two ADC pins which are for attach and detach detection. It implements a basic state machine and a valid detach or attach is left for board specific code to decide. This may simply be comparing the read values with given thresholds.

BUG=b:69140200
BRANCH=None
TEST=Add base specific code to meowth; enable base detection, verify it works as expected.

And commit number 888223, titled,meowth: Add support for base detection”, states:

TEST=Verify that we can detect a base attach and detach.

The launch of Intel’s Cannon Lake platform is probably some time away, given that it’s Intel’s first 10nm microarchitecture. (The company released Kaby Lake Refresh as its 8th Generation Intel Core platform in 2017.) It’s more likely than not that “meowth” won’t see the light of day for some time, but we expect to learn more in the coming months.

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