Google gives strong signal a Chrome tablet is indeed on the way

Summary:On the heels of rumors of an upcoming tablet running Google's Chrome OS, the company did something this week that fans the flames.

Google Tablet
Image: Google

Even though there are those of us who don't believe a Chrome tablet is a viable product , speculation that we'll soon see one announced has recently surfaced. This is due to a press invite to an Acer event that leads one to believe a tablet may be announced.

This week, Google quietly updated Chrome OS, and one of things added in the update sure implies it is getting ready for a tablet. One look at the release notes and it jumps out.

Google update note

The onscreen keyboard has existed in the developer channels for a while, but releasing it into the stable (general release) version seems to be a good signal that Google is readying Chrome OS for a tablet. A touch keyboard has no use at all on a Chromebook with a physical keyboard.

Some pundits have speculated that this keyboard might instead indicate an Acer Chromebook with touch screen will be announced at the upcoming event. I don't think that's the case, as Acer already has a touch Chromebook.

See related:  Acer C720P Chromebook (hands on): Touch at a reasonable price  |  Day one with the Acer C720 Chromebook  |  Acer C720 Chromebook first impressions: Fast and cheap

The Acer 720p and Google's Chromebook Pixel have touch screens. I've used them both and there is absolutely no need for an onscreen keyboard. A nice, physical keyboard is sitting between the user and the touch screen which is much more convenient and efficient than a virtual one on the screen.

That's why I think we'll probably see a Chrome tablet announced soon. If that happens, I still don't think there's much hope for it to succeed, however.

Additional Chromebook coverage: 

Topics: Mobility, Google, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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