Fuchsia Friday: Upcoming Chrome OS pill ‘Flapjack’ features Fuchsia assist

Yesterday, on our Alphabet Scoop podcast, our Stephen Hall dropped a mini bombshell {that a} Fuchsia pill is rumored to be within the works. We dug in a bit deeper and located that the reality could also be extra sophisticated than that.

Early this yr, it was found that the primary Chrome OS tablet with Qi wireless charging was being developed beneath the codename “Flapjack.” Fast ahead to right this moment, it seems Chrome OS received’t be the one working system this gadget helps, as Google’s Fuchsia OS crew can be seeking to assist the “Flapjack” pill.

Over the years, Google’s ever-distant Fuchsia OS has gained assist for a large swath of units, together with sensible house merchandise just like the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, smartphones just like the Honor Play and probably the Pixel 2, and Chromebooks just like the Google Pixelbook and some AMD Chromebooks.

C18 & C19

Early final month, the Fuchsia crew began work on supporting another device, utilizing the no-nonsense codenames “C18” and “C19.” Digging into the brand new Fuchsia code, Google outs these units as additionally utilizing the codename “Flapjack,” which is a reputation we’ve seen as soon as earlier than. This instantly prompted me to look deeper into this new gadget.

Before anything, I needed to make it possible for the overlap wasn’t a easy coincidence, as Google has used duplicate names earlier than. For instance, the codename for the Pixel four is “coral” which can be utilized by a line of Chromebooks and a Google-made developer board. It seems that “C18” and “C19” are certainly names used by the Chromium team to discuss with the 2 fashions of the Chrome OS gadget codenamed “Flapjack.”

Recap: What is Flapjack?

We’ve recognized a good bit about Flapjack already from the Chromium supply code. For occasion, Flapjack will be a tablet accessible with an 8-inch or 10-inch 1920×1200 (16:10) show and run on a MediaTek MT8183 processor, which is the successor to the MT8173c discovered within the fantastically inexpensive Lenovo C330 and S330 Chromebooks. Flapjack may also assist utilizing a Wacom stylus, together with 15W Qi wi-fi charging.

Putting all of it collectively, this pill looks as if an odd mish-mash of premium and low-end {hardware}, virtually paying homage to the poorly-received low-end mannequin of Google Pixel Slate with the Intel Celeron processor. Hopefully, MediaTek will be capable to succeed within the mid-range pill market the place Intel’s chip failed.

One tidbit on Flapjack aka C18 / C19 that we haven’t fairly discovered but is what model they’ll be offered as. Many commits associated to Flapjack level to being designed by the Chinese firm Huaqin, an ODM who creates units for the likes of Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and Samsung, however hasn’t developed a Chrome OS gadget since 2015’s Haier Chromebook 11.

First Fuchsia pill

Back to right this moment, why is the Fuchsia crew placing the work in to assist this Flapjack pill? It’s attainable the Fuchsia crew intends to make use of Flapjack internally because it’s a tool powered an ARM processor that’s extra fully-featured than units just like the Nest Hub. For instance, it’s not straightforward to attach USB equipment, like a keyboard and mouse, to the Nest Hub, whereas Flapjack will certainly have a correct USB-C port.

Another potential reply is that Flapjack was a simple gadget for the crew to develop for. Thanks to current assist for Chromebooks just like the Pixelbook, the structure was already in place to flash Fuchsia onto a brand new Chrome OS gadget. Additionally, among the work done for Flapjack reuses code for an current Fuchsia gadget codenamed “Cleo,” which makes use of an SoC additionally created by MediaTek.

Also from the Fuchsia facet of issues, we truly be taught a brand new tidbit about Flapjack, particularly, that the pill could ship with an admittedly small 4GB of RAM. This would firmly place Flapjack as a low-end gadget.

In a manner, this might truly be nice information for Fuchsia followers. While it’s not going that Google can be “officially” launching Fuchsia on Flapjack, any would-be Fuchsia developer ought to be capable to get began with the work-in-progress working system on the inexpensive pill identical to they already can on the much more expensive Google Pixelbook. Other inexpensive Fuchsia-compatible units so far have both required a particular signing key, as is the case for the Nest Hub or have to be particular ordered, just like the Khadas VIM3.

Between this new Flapjack pill and the progress made on operating Fuchsia within the official Android Studio Emulator, working with Fuchsia might turn out to be simpler than ever within the close to future. In the meantime, we’ll proceed to look at for clues indicating who’s behind Flapjack, with CES 2020 being the following large date for brand spanking new Chromebook reveals.

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