The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has developed Chrome OS laptops with touchscreens. According to the Journal’s sources, the Chromebooks will go on sale later this year, though there aren’t any details on which hardware manufacturers are working with Google.
A touchscreen Chromebook would likely require significant alterations to Chrome OS, which uses a desktop-style interface built around Google’s Chrome browser and designed for a mouse and keyboard. The touchscreen laptops would mean Google offering two touch-based operating systems; it’s unclear how the company would position the new products against existing Android tablets.
The Journal says that just 100,000 Chromebooks were estimated to have been sold in the final quarter of 2012. Given Google’s position as a key Internet player, the growth of Android and its foray into hardware with the purchase of Motorola, it isn’t a big surprise that the company has bigger ambitions in the PC/tablet space.
Acer and Samsung are the Asian partners that produce Google’s existing Chromebook range — which retail at $199 and $249, and have recently been promoted through ads within its Chrome browser — but it isn’t clear if either firm, both of which are Android partners, is tasked with developing the alleged touch screen devices.