Back in February, I noted that the Sarien and Arcada Chromebooks would likely support some time of Wireless WAN connectivity such as 4G LTE. A new code commit confirms my suspicion as the device family just gained the ability for modem firmware updates.
This code isn’t super exciting on the face of things, but from an end result standpoint, many Chromebook enthusiasts will be happy.
There’s been a relative dearth of Chromebooks with integrated LTE connectivity as so few devices have had the feature. I used it with my 2015 Chromebook Pixel and enjoyed the ability to work from nearly anywhere, such as out in a park setting when I didn’t feel like sitting in a coffee shop.
No other Google Chromebooks since then have included an LTE radio and it’s only recently that Samsung brought the feature back with its Samsung Chromebook Plus v2 last year.
Of course, you can always use a phone or tablet as a hotspot if your provider allows it so that your Chromebook is “always connected” but for road warriors, integrated LTE is a huge productivity booster. The Chrome OS Instant Tethering feature makes this connectivity quite seamless as well.
Not much else is known about Sarien and Arcada at this point, other than the former is likely a clamshell while the latter will be a 2-in-1 and are expected to use Intel’s Whiskey Lake CPUs. Both will have a remapped hardware keyboard that appears to bring traditional Function keys to Chrome OS and Linux. Perhaps we’ll see these debut before the end of 2019, given the current progress.