Google said to release touch-screen laptop this year

Edging into Microsoft's touch screen territory, the Web giant is said to have developed its first touch-capable laptop to run on Chrome's operating system.

An Acer Chromebook. Sarah Tew/CNET

As the divide between laptops and tablets continues to shrink, word is that Google has already developed its first Chrome-powered touchscreen laptop.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant's new device would come with cloud computing and could go on sale as soon as this year.

This endeavor would put Google in closer competition with Microsoft, which has already developed its own Windows touch-screen laptops . According to the Wall Street Journal, 25 percent of all Windows 8 laptops sold in the U.S. last month had touch screens.

Microsoft also has a major claim on the low-cost laptop market. But, Google edged into this territory over the past year too. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google sold nearly 100,000 $199 and $249 Chromebooks in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of last year.

Chrome OS already includes a touch-screen keyboard , which means that it shouldn't be too difficult to add a touch-centric interface to the operating system, especially with Google's experience with Android.

The company launched two Chromebooks from Acer and Samsung last year. It's unclear which hardware manufacturer Google might have partnered with for the possible upcoming touchscreen laptop.

Having touch on a traditional laptop is a growing trend and could be commonplace in the near future -- as it is for any mobile device now. In December, Acer President Jim Wong said touch-screen laptops will soon come to dominate the PC market .

CNET contacted Google for comment. We'll update the story when we get more information.

 

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