Google could introduce its own branded Chromebook with a touchscreen in early 2012 according to a SlashGear report.
Google reportedly ordered 20 million units of the unannounced Chromebook from Chinese manufacturer Compal. It’s not clear if the device will use the standard laptop form factor with an added touchscreen or if Google is planning to announce a convertible Chromebook similar to recent Windows 8 Ultrabooks.
The new device will likely be ready for Google by the end of 2012, which isn’t much time to announce a new device for the holidays. It’s possible Google will use the initial shipment to gauge demand for such a device. Or Google could use the same method it used for the Cr-48 and give the device out to developers to create Chrome OS apps and the enthusiasts that it deems worthy enough to get one.
Google recently announced two new Chromebooks, one made by Samsung and another from Acer. The new Acer Chromebook uses an Intel Atom processor and holds a 320GB HDD. The new Samsung Chromebook, however, uses an ARM-based Exynos processor and has 16GB of SSD storage. It’s not clear which platform Google will use for its new touchscreen device.
The two recent Chromebooks cost $199 for the Acer and $249 for the Samsung device. Google’s branded device will likely have a price in the same general range.
If Google does release and sell such a Chromebook it will be the company’s first branded device since the ill-fated Nexus Q. All other Google devices include Nexus phones and tablets have the brands of other companies like Samsung, LG, and Asus attached. Google hasn’t shipped its own branded device since the Cr-48.
With the poor sales of Windows 8 and the Microsoft Surface Google might have a chance to gain more traction for its Chrome OS, and a touchscreen device could help the company achieve that goal.