At least one of the four expected ASUS Chrome OS devices expected to arrive at CES 2019 in early January could be based on Intel's Gemini Lake series chips and a direct followup to the company's Skylake-powered Chromebook C302. That's according to recent speculation raised by circumstances surrounding a relatively vague leak from back in November that hinted at three new ASUS Chromebooks -- models C204, C403, and C434TA -- and a ten-inch tablet. The latest expectation is fueled by the timing of the event and ASUS history of launching new Chrome OS devices at CES, in addition to commits spotted back in February in the Chromium Gerrit. Namely, several developers on a Gemini Lake-powered Chromebook are noted to have been using ASUS official emails while working on the Octopus reference board-based project called ‘Ampton’. ASUS also hasn't launched a followup to its popular mid-range Chromebook C302 in nearly two years. If speculation bears out, the new device will likely be built on Intel's N5000 processor and deliver significant improvements over the previous generation.
Two ASUS convertibles, a detachable, and a tablet
As noted by Android Headlines at the time of the initial leak from WinFuture's Roland Quandt, the model designations for three of those devices did appear to give away at least a few details. At least two of the devices in question appears to be incoming as a 14-inch Chrome OS device based on Based on ASUS standard naming conventions, the model designation 'C' and the subsequent numbers the Chromebook C403 and C434TA are almost certainly 14-inch devices. The ASUS Chromebook C204 will likely be a 12-inch gadget. If the tech giant follows its previous use of the 'TA' tag at the end of its Chromebook C434TA, that could suggest it will be a detachable device similar to its ASUS Transformer Book series Windows detachable laptops. Regardless of whether or not that's the case, the ASUS Chromebook C434TA will almost certainly represent its top-of-the-line offering for the year with mid-range and budget devices following over the course of 2019.
The 10-inch rumored Chrome OS tablet from ASUS has also been speculated to be running on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 or a MediaTek SoC similar to those found in the company's Android tablets. If the former is true, that may not be good news though since the SoC itself was recently scored on Geekbench via a reference board -- codenamed Cheza -- with what appeared to be absolutely terrible results. The scores it earned on the benchmark were just over a third of the performance of top Android Smartphones on the single core side and almost four times lower in terms of its multi-core marks. Benchmarks don't tell the whole story or even a fair representation of real-world use in every case but those scores would be extremely low for a device intended to push forward Qualcomm's mobile-connected Chromebook vision. A MediaTek SoC might not perform much better either, although proper optimization can provide to a seamless experience with the chipmaker's more powerful SoCs.
Competitive pricing against premium devices
If the speculations turn out to be true, that could equate to devices that perform noticeably better than the ASUS Chromebook C302 but at a similar cost to consumers. It wouldn't necessarily compete with the best offerings from HP, Lenovo, Dell, or Acer -- who have each released their own Chrome OS devices over the past year to compete with Google's Pixelbook. But it would fill a niche in the mid-range that's been largely neglected in the past twelve months at a cost that would be highly competitive.