Google plans touchscreen Chromebook

Two reports point to search giant launching 12.8in touchscreen laptop.

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Google is rumoured to be launching a touchscreen Chromebook laptop that should go on sale by the end of the year.

Reports from DigiTimes.com and the Chinese-language Commercial Times said that the devices will be built by Taiwanese firm Compal Electronics while the touchscreen will be supplied by Wintek. The firm is ramping up production of the devices, according to sources within the Asian supply chain.

"Taiwan-based makers have begun shipping components for the notebook and Compal will start shipments as soon as the end of 2012," according to DigiTimes.com.

The reports said that Google has ordered 200,000 units with the price of the new devices likely to be more expensive than the current 229 laptop manufactured by Samsung. Google could use the devices to seed interest among developers as it did with its original Chromebook, the CR-48.

Such a laptop could blur the differences between Google's Chrome OS, which relies heavily on using the browser as the main way to work on the internet, and its Android mobile OS which uses mostly apps.

Chrome OS engineers are investigating the possibilities of a touch screen UI. Another webpage makes many references to touch-based interaction.

The rumoured launch of the touch-enabled laptops comes after the launch of Google's Nexus-branded Nexus 4 smartphone, manufactured by Korean firm LG, and the Nexus 10. These Android devices were launched in New York earlier this month.

IT Pro approached Google for comment but it declined the request.

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