Google Developing Touchscreen Chromebooks and Other Devices

For a period of time, it looked as though Google's Chromebook platform would simply fade into the footnotes of technological history, but it's seeing a bit of a renaissance as of late, being reborn as the modern day netbook. It started with some much needed price cuts (Acer sells its Chromebook for $199 and Samsung's model runs $249) and continues with well timed upgrades, such as the 14-inch model HP now sells. What will tomorrow bring?

Touchscreens! We already had an idea that Google was working on touchscreen support courtesy of a leaked Chromebook Pixel concept video, and now The Wall Street Journal is reporting that we'll see touch-enabled models debut by the end of the year.

Chromebook Pixel

Details are still in short supply, though the Chromebook Pixel video suggested that these upcoming models will sport Retina-class resolutions (2560x1700), to borrow a term from the Apple camp. If that's the direction Google is indeed taking with its Chromebook platform, it brings up some interesting scenarios.

The first is that it would be going up against Microsoft and its touch-friendly Windows 8 ecosystem. Granted, a Windows notebook is a different class of system, but just as tablet sales have eaten away at PC sales, a touch-enabled Chromebook might cut into lower end Windows 8 notebook sales.

Introducing touch support also brings up the possibility of hybrid form factors. Should Google go in that direction, then Chromebooks would compete with its own Android platform, which is another interesting scenario. Google has long held that Android and Chrome OS serve different markets, but those markets are starting to converge.