Google is at work on a new kind of Chromebook: one with touchscreen capabilities, the Wall Street Journal reports. The laptops should be out later this year, though the exact date is still unclear, as is the identity of the company handling the hardware. While sales of existing Chromebooks are increasing—up to 100,000 were sold last year— Chrome hasn't yet made serious inroads into Microsoft's market share. It will also face competition from within Google, in the form of Android, the Journal notes.
Now, Google will have to get software makers to start writing Chrome-compatible touch programs. Based on Google's previous forays into hardware, odds are the new machines to be "frighteningly affordable," speculates Adam Estes at the Atlantic Wire. Microsoft is already in the touchscreen-laptop game; a quarter of Windows 8 laptops sold in the US last month had the capability. But Apple hasn't gotten involved in the fun, meaning that, for a change, Google is actually making something Apple doesn't—at least not yet, Estes notes. (More Google stories.)