Google is really getting behind the Chrome OS. The company has already announced a huge bounty for hackers to figure out a way to breach the OS, but now the company is reportedly taking the Chromebook laptops to the next level.

According to Wall Street Journal (paywall), Google will be announcing touchscreen Chromebooks for the first time later this year. The reports says that the company is trying to bring the Chrome OS on a level playing field with Microsoft’s Windows 8, which is a touch-oriented OS. However, the company will also be taking on Android tablets, if the rumours pan out. There are several OEMs with a great interest in Android and there are hundreds of Android tablets on the market. The rumoured Chromebook Pixel is touted to have a touchscreen panel, so the WSJ report doesn't come out of the blue.

The Chromebook Pixel supposedly has a touchscreen

The Chromebook Pixel supposedly has a touchscreen

The report says that there is no firm release date on the new touchscreen Chromebooks and there never has been a slot in the calendar focussing only on the notebooks. Perhaps, a Google I/O announcement could be in the works. Google has not made much of a dent with Chrome against Microsoft, but the search giant has tried to get more manufacturers interested in the OS. The integrated cloud computing angle allows manufacturers to produce Chromebooks without breaking the bank and the flexibility of the OS allows developers to write more apps for it.

Earlier this year, the company unveiled a Chrome-plated Android at its Mountain View campus. If that is any indication, then perhaps Google might introduce some Android elements or maybe a runtime framework for the Chrome OS, which should present some interesting possibilities while also helping the touch navigation. Currently, the browser-based OS is not very touch friendly and launching a touchscreen Chromebook will mean a UI design overhaul as well.

However, both Android and Chrome OS have their roots in linux, so a convergence device of some sort is not entirely the stuff of fantasy. In fact, those who have been following Google closely have always believed that somehow the company will bring both platforms under one roof. Android has no shortage of applications or backers, and brining Chrome’s cloud computing prowess to the party will only boost the existing confidence.

Earlier this month, Hewlett Packard, the world’s top PC maker, unveiled its first Chrome OS-based notebook, the Pavilion 14 Chromebook; earlier Samsung and Acer have both introduced their own devices with the OS on board. So at the moment, there is no shortage of OEMs trying their hand at the new OS. While it is an exciting prospect to see Chrome OS revamped for a more touch-friendly world, will it make a dent in Microsoft’s revenue? Let us know in the comments.

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