Google could release a touch Chromebook by end of 2012

samsung-series-5-chromebookTouch is all the rage in computing these days, and it looks like Google could be the next company to hop on the bandwagon with a touch-enabled Chromebook. According to reports in the China Times, Google placed an order with its Taiwan-based manufacturer Compal for 20 million of the new devices. Details about the new Chromebook are very sparse, although the news report said the computers could launch as early as December. That would require a very fast turnaround for Google to get a slice of holiday sales with the release, but it’s possible the company has some tricks up its sleeve. You never know.

There are plenty more intriguing rumors about this touchscreen Chromebook, including Mashable’s assertion that Google may sell the laptops under its own brand. The other currently available products in the line are made by other well-known computer manufacturers such as Samsung and Acer. If Google does put its name on the new Chromebook, it probably will be somewhat revolutionary. There’s also a possibility that the new laptop could combine Chrome OS and Android, uniting Google’s two operating systems in a single device. 

The other big point of curiosity is whether this Chromebook will have modifications designed to best combine the features of the Chrome OS and browser with touch, as Microsoft did with its Surface tablet and Windows 8. It’s also possible that the touch machine will be a hybrid computer that can serve as either a tablet or a laptop. There are many new design models for these two-in-one machines, each with pros and cons, and it would be interesting to see which style Google favors. All the products in the Chromebook line offer lightweight, portable computing for a very reasonable price. Although a touch laptop would probably cost a little more than its traditional counterparts, we’d expect Google to stick close to that ethos. Time will tell.