Cheza is a Qualcomm 845 detachable Chromebook, likely similar to Microsoft’s always on PCs

Right after Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 845 chip in December, XDA Developers found some early code suggesting a new Chrome OS device code-named Cheza was in the works using the chip. Fast forward six months and there’s much more than early code: The Chromium team has been coding away for the last several weeks on Cheza — 54 code commits today alone! — so it looks like the real deal.

Based on what I found today over the course of a few hours, it appears that Cheza will be functionally similar to the new Microsoft Always On PCs like the HP Envy X2 shown above. Aside from confirmation that the Snapdragon 845 — currently the most powerful Qualcomm processor used in high-end Android phones — is the heart of Cheza, I found the following tidbits:

cheza usbObviously, using the Snapdragon 845 to power a Chromebook doesn’t just bring the processor, GPU, video and other I/O support. The chip also has an integrated Qualcomm X20 modem, capable of theoretical LTE download speeds up to 1.2 Gbps.

In the real world, network traffic and infrastructure affect wireless speeds so I wouldn’t expect even half of that throughput. Still, just the idea of integrated LTE for a Chromebook is exciting; something I wish device makers hadn’t gotten away from over the past few years. Note that Project Hermes is Google’s effort to support eSIMs and possibly Project Fi in Chromebooks, so you may not need a SIM card for Cheza.

Keep in mind from a hardware cycle perspective, Microsoft’s current “Always On PCs” use the Snapdragon 835, which it says can provide up to 20 hours of battery life. Some reviews are getting close to that while others are just getting a full day of use. And performance of Windows 10 S mode seems lackluster as well, so Microsoft is planning to use the Snapdragon 850 for the next generation of these devices.

I raise this point for a few reasons but mainly because Chrome OS can run quite well on less powerful processors when compared to the same hardware running Windows. So I anticipate solid performance and likely better battery life, just because of the software.

We’ll see in the coming months — I’m thinking we see Cheza as a final product in the fall — as development continues. Since we’ve never had a Qualcomm-powered Chromebook, I’m intrigued to find out how well one could work; especially with an always on LTE connection.

Updated at 8:20pm, June 21 to reflect WQHD panel may be for testing only.


5 thoughts on “Cheza is a Qualcomm 845 detachable Chromebook, likely similar to Microsoft’s always on PCs

  • June 21, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    It is worth mentioning that on careful examination the apparent exclusive supply of the Snapdragon 850 to builders of Windows based “always connected” PCs may be less significant than it looks. The Snapdragon 850 is after all nearly identical to the SD845. There are a few small changes that improve the hardware spec, but only very slightly. These changes could easily have been introduced without any fanfare or multiplication of product labels. Of course there is the slight increase in the boost clock of the SD850 but once again this is pretty trivial. The changes to the software governing the chips operational behaviour and parameters are more significant but this just a matter of tailoring the chip to use not a hardware change.

    So the whole SD850 thing may be nothing more than an exercise in badge engineering.

  • June 22, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I’m not sure I would pay a premium for an “always on” Windows machine or Chromebook. I appreciate the convenience, but what is so hard about tethering to a cell phone? I switched from Android to iPhone a couple of years ago, and turning on tethering on the iPhone is simple. In fact, I just leave my “Personal Hotspot” feature turned on and my Surface Book, Chromebook, or IPad quickly connect to it when other Wi-Fi is not available. Plus, I don’t have to pay extra to Verizon for an additional device.

  • June 23, 2018 at 5:39 am

    It should NOT be expensive! Period. They do not inventvthe wheel here, too expensive meens less people buying it even for the sake of testing… so we will seat aside and wait for others to test, mean while, wont selk enough.. Too bad.

    • June 23, 2018 at 11:25 am

      What would be a good price in your opinion? Keep in mind that people are paying $500 to $800 for a Snapdragon 845 phone these days.

  • June 25, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    People often fervently hope that highly novel devices like this one bring highly attractive pricing with them. That is rarely the case. Comparing like for like (or like for similar to like where comparative matching isn’t possible) is a better way of making a good guess about pricing. The Asus NovaGo a Windows computer using the SD835 processor retails for $599. This Chromebook (if it is indeed meant for production and not just a reference device) will be more than that. $699 – $899 perhaps.


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