WSJ: Google Will Take On Windows 8 With Touchscreen Chromebooks


Google has developed its first touchscreen Chromebooks that will attempt to compete with the latest crop of notebooks powered by Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, sources for The Wall Street Journal have said. It’s unclear when the notebook will be available, or which company it’ll be made by — but it seems Google has plenty of work to do before they start hitting store shelves.

Google’s first hurdle will be to persuade developers to build touch-compatible applications for the new devices, WSJ reports. Its existing Chromebooks run web-based applications built on the HTML5 platform, which all work in “the cloud” and are accessed through the company’s Chrome browser.


Many Windows 8 notebooks come with touchscreens.

Touchscreen Chromebooks could also compete with Google’s own Android platform, WSJ suggests. But it’s believed that Google “is comfortable” having two competing systems — as long as they’re both working to boost its own services, such as its search engine and things like YouTube.

Previous Chromebooks have been manufactured by Samsung, Acer, and HP, with one on the way from Lenovo. It’s unclear whether any of these companies will be tasked with building the first touchscreen Chromebook; a Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Chrome has struggled to make any significant dent in Microsoft’s market share up to this point, according to analysts. But around 100,000 Chromebooks were sold in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of 2012. Sales are certainly increasing, then, but Google hasn’t yet persuaded consumers that “cloud computing” is the future.

And with Windows 8 working to blur the line between notebooks and tablets, it seems Google will have to introduce touchscreen devices to have any hope of moving its Chrome OS forward. “In the long run, to be competitive, most products are going to need touch,” according to Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at research firm NPD.