An upcoming tablet found in the Chromium Gerrit under the codename ‘Flapjack’ now looks to be the first Chrome OS device ever to ship with wireless charging support, based on a recent commit spotted by tech enthusiast and Twitter user Brandon Lall. The update specifically adds a test to ensure that charging current and voltage remain normal during wireless charging and is noted as an “active” status change.
The active status does mean that the feature is under early testing and could ultimately be scrapped if it can't be safely introduced but wireless charging does seem to be more than just under consideration for the gadgets in question.
The wireless receiver chosen for the built-out is fitting since Chromebooks and Chrome OS gadgets tend to drain power at a higher rate than Android gadgets and pack in higher capacity batteries. The new commit doesn't give too many details about either of those other figures but it does indicate the family associated with the module chosen. The "P9221-R" designation indicates this is a Qi standard wireless receiver can work with wireless input set as high as 15-watts.
What else is known about Flapjack?
The change to the Chromium Gerrit was discovered by Mr. Lall following research into the recently reported Flapjack Chrome OS devices themselves on the repository. So far, there aren't too many details available regarding the devices but it can be said with near certainty that the family will be comprised of at least two variants centering around a tablet design.
The gadgets will likely fall into the mid-range by comparison to other Chrome OS gadgets thanks to their use of an octa-core MediaTek MT8183 SoC. For reference, that's a chipset comprised of four ARM Cortex-A53 cores and four more Cortex-A73. The more powerful of those is typically able to be clocked at up to a frequency of 1.99 GHz while the other four are aimed at more energy-efficiency. The base clock for the SoC sits at a respectable 1.3GHz, according to MediaTek's specifications site.
That chipset also supports mobile data connection via EDGE, HSPA +, and WDCDMA networks according to the company.
With regard to details discovered in the Chromium Gerrit. The tablet is expected to arrive in two sizes, both with the same or similar ratio and resolution but aimed at different use cases -- set at 16:10 and a resolution of 1200 x 1920. One of those will be a ten-inch tablet while the other will be closer to Google's Nexus 7 in size at around eight-inches. The display panel is being supplied by Himax.
The OEM responsible for the devices is thought to be Huaqin, which ordinarily builds devices on mobile platforms but did a white label device for Haier on the Chromebook front back in 2015.
A test and a long wait ...what's the timeframe
Although testing for wireless charging compatibility and safety are indications that progress has been made on Flapjack, this could also indicate that there's still plenty of testing to be done before it eventually launches. If the company means to have the wireless charging act as a primary feature and charging method, that will need to be finalized and further work will need to be done to optimize it first. Additional checks for safety will likely follow.
All of that's without consideration for other optimizations that need to be made but none of that should necessarily be too surprising. The majority of major Chrome OS announcements will be made toward the end of the year as IFA 2019 in Berlin approaches and around the time of Google's own annual hardware event. That leaves plenty of time for developers to get these devices ready to go before peak Chrome OS season kicks off.
I was reading @chromeunboxed's article on a potential upcoming Chrome OS tablet called Flapjack.
Add one more tablet-esque feature and a first for Chrome OS devices — Qi Wireless Charging.
— Brandon Lall (@brandonlall36) March 24, 2019