As consumers increasingly gravitate toward tablets and away from laptops, Google Inc. (Nasdaq:GOOG) is poised to unleash the first touch-screen laptops controlled by its Chrome operating system later this year.
The Mountain View, Calif.-based Web giant is keeping mum about the release date for its new gadget, but experts believe the release will happen before the end of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Google currently sells Chrome-based laptops, known as Chromebooks, starting at $199. Instead of using software run by a traditional operating system, Chromebooks are pared-down laptops designed to run Web-based applications. The new touch-screen versions aim to take a bite out of Microsoft Corp.’s (Nasdaq:MSFT) dominance in laptop market with its Windows operating system.
First released in June 2011, the Chromebook has not yet made much of a dent in Microsoft’s market share, but that could change as users become more accustomed to cloud-based computing, where user data and software are sorted and plucked from the Internet from any enabled and compatible device rather than from on-board computer hard drives.
The current Chomebooks are manufactured by Taiwan’s Acer Incorporated (TPE:2353) and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005935) of South Korea.
Google will need to lure software programmers to create applications for its new touch-screen Chromebooks. Its other operating system, Android, is already well established among app developers because it runs on mobile devices as well as tablets.