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Google to extend Chromebook notebook with tablet features: Report

by David Needle

November 26 2012

A report says Google plans to extend the Chromebook line with a touchscreen model.
A report says Google plans to extend the Chromebook line with a touchscreen model.

Google’s ever-evolving Chromebook line could be in for another change, according to a Chinese newspaper.

The latest iteration of the Chromebook, made by Samsung Electronics in partnership with Google, was recently released at a record low $249. Like earlier models, the 11.6-inch laptop runs a version of Google’s Chrome web broswer and relies on Internet-connectivity to run apps and for virtual storage.

Users get 100 GB of free online storage and the Chromebook is set up to run all of Google's services, including its search engine, apps, Gmail and YouTube at startup.

Now the Taiwan-based site Digitimes, citing the Chinese language Commercial Times, says Google is planning a bigger model of the Chromebook with touch features.

The new model will feature a 12.85-inch touchscreen and be made by Compal Electronics , with Wintek supplying the touch panels. Chromebook's already share one feature common found in tablets, fast startup time of only a few seconds. The story claims Compal will start shipments around the end of this year, which indicates they won’t be available to buy until early next year.

The news shouldn't come as a total surprise since just last month a Google executive declared that "the notion of what is a tablet and what a Chromebook is over time will converge." 

Rumors swirled Google might make the Chromebook a tablet over two years ago, but those reports turned out to be false. Google originally positioned the Chromebook as an alternative to the netbook when it previewed the device in late 2009, but as the market for netbooks dried up, Google switched to calling it a notebook alternative. 

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