Is Google's Chrome OS headed to tablets?

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Google's web-centric Chrome operating system (OS) was originally coded to run on laptops and desktops. However, it seems as if Chrome OS may be evolving into an operating system that could ultimately run on tablets, hybrids and convertible notebooks.

As Liliputing's Brad Linder notes, there is currently only one touchscreen Chromebook on the market: the $1299 Chromebook Pixel.

"[However], soon there may be more, with evidence that Acer plans to launch Chromebooks with touch input," he explained. "But in both of those cases, there’s not much need for an on-screen keyboard, since the laptops already have physical keyboards. So why does Google keep working on improving the virtual keyboard built into Chrome OS?"

According to Linder, Google’s François Beaufort recently confirmed that the latest developer version of Chrome includes a virtual keyboard with nearly all the same keys one would find on a physical Chromebook keyboard: shortcuts for back and forward buttons, page refresh, full-screen, volume, brightness settings and even a power key.

In addition, Google's Chrome team continues to add support for additional touchscreen gestures, including the ability to swipe down from the top of the screen with three fingers to view an overview of open browser tabs or apps.

Finally, developers are reportedly testing Chrome OS on a new board dubbed "Rambi" that is equipped with an Intel Bay Trail processor. As Linder notes, this doesn't necessarily prove there is a company working on a Bay Trail-powered Chrome OS device, although the existence of such a tablet is certainly possible.

"Since we’re already seeing inexpensive Chromebooks with Celeron/Haswell chips such as the $249 Acer C720 Chromebook, Chrome OS laptops with a Bay Trail processor would likely be even cheaper, unless they have premium features such as touchscreens or detachable tablet sections," he said.