Chrome OS should have been Google’s ticket back into the tablet and productivity world. Indeed, its Pixel Slate announcement was filled with rhetoric about how real computers have real desktop browsers. But while the Pixel Slate fared mostly fine in early reviews when it came to the hardware, there was were some lingering doubts about its overall utility. The uncertainty and doubt might not be over for the platform if its first Snapdragon-powered Chromebook, the one codenamed “cheza”, is as terrible as these first benchmark scores seem to imply.
By no means would Cheza be the first ARM-based Chrome OS device. Google’s other OS has long been running on such chips, mostly from Rockchip, even before Chromebooks started using Intel’s low-end processors. It has never used Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile platforms before, though, especially not the current Snapdragon 845. If a flagship Chromebook did, then it would help create an “always on, always connected” narrative around Chrome OS.
That Chromebook is believed to be the one called “cheza” that has been popping up in source code changes here and there. For the first time, however, it has finally appeared in a Geekbench test with matching scores to boot. This hints that the device is already mature enough to be running Android apps, in this case the Geekbench app, in Chrome OS.
Unfortunately, the scores aren’t at all that encouraging. At 860 and 2630 for single and multi-core tests, respectively, the cheza is giving nearly a quarter of the performance of the Snapdragon 845 on smartphones. There are a few running theories around these strange numbers, like the penalty running Android apps on Chrome OS naturally incur and the unoptimized versions of software being used.
In short, the cheza’s software seems not yet ready for prime time, which in itself could be a disappointment for Chrome OS fans. The Snapdragon 845 is already old news in light of the Snapdragon 855 but it might still take a few more weeks, months even, for the first Snapdragon Chromebook to come out. Then again, given reviews of the Pixel Slate, Chrome OS does have a lot of software rough edges to smoothen out if it wants to really compete in the big kids’ court.