Chromebook 2? How Google is poised to revamp its computer for everyone

Google is in the middle of a huge marketing push for its new Chromebook, with that lovely advert featuring cute baby twins, graduating students, a silverhaired gent getting to grips with modern technology, and even the family pet.

Billed as the “computer for everyone,” Google is pushing the new device as a second computer for the home in the run up to Christmas.

But, no sooner is the Chromebook hitting the shelves, then rumours are rife that the second generation Chromebook  is being created.

According to reports, Google is gearing up to launch a new touchscreen laptop, an update of its Chromebook, putting it head-to-head with the likes of Microsoft’s new surface.

The Surface has come in for a bit of criticism over its build quality, although it has also been described by the International Business Times as “beautifully designed,” and with a type cover that is a pleasure to work on.

But it seems the future of hybrid devices – those which offer a combination of touchscreen and traditional keyboard capabilities – is assured. The China Times is reporting that a firm in Taiwan, Compal, will be manufacturing 20 million 12.85-inch touchscreen Chromebooks.

The touchscreen for the devices is expected to be supplied by electrical components manufacturer Wintek, which has factories in China, Vietnam, India and Taiwan, and also makes screens for Apple’s iPhone.

According to the DigiTimes: “Taiwan-based makers have begun shipping components for the notebook and Compal will start shipments as soon as the end of 2012.”

The move towards touchscreen has been gaining in momentum thanks to Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. Now Google is looking to get in on the action.

So far, Google hasn’t commented on the expected upgrade, saying it never comments on speculation, but the search engine giant had hinted back in May that it would be moving towards touchscreen technology. Sundar Pichai, senior vice president in charge of Chrome and Google Apps, said then: “We are deeply incorporating touch so if people want to ship something with a touch screen, we can do that as well.”

Google launched its first Chromebooks last year, which went on sale at £229. Disappointing take up is thought to have led to a price drop, with the latest version of the Chromebook now on sale through Google’s own Play store, starting at £199.

Any new touchscreen device is expected to be more expensive to reflect new technology. Google will be hoping incorporating touchscreen will help consumers to buy into its computing philosophy.

Chromebooks differ from other laptops because they don’t have a hard drive. So, rather than keeping all your photographs, videos, documents, spreadsheets and tunes on your own computer, you store them on Google’s servers and access them through Google’s services like Picasa and Google Docs.

So far, although Chromebooks can be used when not connected to the internet, some consumers have been put off buying the device because they believe they need to be online to do, and save, their work. Whether a new touchscreen convinces them remains to be seen.