It’s a safe bet that we’ll see Chromebooks with Intel’s new Haswell chips inside as Chrome OS code shows various references to Intel’s next big product. Haswell is the name of the fourth-generation Core processor and is officially expected to launch at Computex in June. The chip promises a vast improvement in battery life and sleep states, with Intel hoping to double the run-time of computers that use it when compared to devices — such as the Chromebook Pixel — running on current Ivy Bridge chips.
So what’s the evidence that Haswell-based Chromebooks are in the works? Chrome Story author Dinsan Francis spotted numerous references to Haswell in code for Chrome OS. The code name for the device build is Slippy and I did my own code-hunting to verify Francis’ report. Haswell is mentioned all throughout the code, as is Lynx Point, the chipset controller expected to complement Haswell.
As the Chromebook Pixel is the highest-performing Chromebook to date, it’s possible to see a refresh as a Haswell-powered Chrome OS laptop. If so, the Pixel may be a bit more appealing because it only gets five hours of run-time on a single charge; one of the few technical challenges of the expensive machine. Google could also use Haswell to create a Chromebook in the “middle ground” range: There are no Chromebooks priced between $550 and $1,249, for example.
Don’t expect any new Chromebooks with Haswell at the Google I/O developer event in two weeks, however. It’s an outside possibility that a prototype product could be shown off, but there won’t be one for sale until after June.
While Haswell hasn’t officially debuted yet, it’s quite common for hardware and software companies to get early chip samples. This allows time for integration and testing so that when the chip arrives in larger quantities, new products can immediately hit the market.