Posted October 18, 2018 12:12:50 The next major update to the Google Chrome OS operating system will include support for the first-generation ARM processors, which were first introduced last year, and they’ll also include some new hardware features.
The release of Chrome OS will be the culmination of a months-long work effort by Google, led by its engineers and with support from partners, according to Google’s Chris Anderson, CEO of Chrome, Chrome OS and Google’s Cloud Platform.
The hardware will arrive in the next few months and should arrive in “early 2018,” Anderson said during an investor call on Wednesday.
The devices will also include support from Google’s own hardware partners, but it’s unclear when exactly those partners will begin shipping the devices, as Google has yet to formally announce any partnerships.
The first-gen ARM processors from Qualcomm are known as Snapdragon 845 and 852, and the first ones to be supported by Chrome OS were released in October.
Google has been using ARM chips since 2015, but ARM’s latest generation of chips, called Exynos 8895, is designed to be much faster than the Cortex-A57 chips used by Android devices.
The new hardware will include a quad-core Cortex-M4 CPU with a base clock of 2.4GHz, with a boost clock of 4GHz.
Google’s Anderson did not say when the company plans to offer support for ARM chips in Chrome OS.
The company will also support a 64-bit version of the same ARM chip, known as a Mali-T720 GPU, but this will be “later this year,” Anderson told the call.
Google will support the same chipset in the Chrome OS developer preview, and Anderson said that the company “will not support the current generation of Snapdragon 835.”
Android users will have to upgrade to the new chip, which Google will officially support in the first quarter of 2020, though the company will offer it as a developer preview.
The upcoming update is a significant departure from Google, which has always supported ARM chips for Chromebooks.
It’s also not the first time Google has made changes to the hardware for Chrome OS: earlier this year, it removed support for older ARM chips and replaced them with more modern versions of the Snapdragon 855 and 858.
Google also launched the Chromebook Pixel, an affordable Chromebook that includes an ARM processor instead of the Adreno 530 graphics.
The Pixel is Google’s first Chromebook with an integrated Intel Atom processor, though Google will offer the Pixel with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU and the same GPU as in the Chromebook 15.
“The new ARM chips are great, but we want to make sure that Chromebook users get the best performance for their money,” Anderson added.
“And that’s where the Android ecosystem comes in.”