Touchscreen Chrome OS hybrid tablet/laptop coming soon?

Cloud touchscreen devices to change everything (again). Rumor has it that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is building its own Chromebooks. They'll have touch displays, we're told.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers note that the old rules keep changing.

Clouds (IBM and AT&T)

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Jared Newman, for one, welcomes our new touchy-cloudy overlords:

China Times...claims that Google has already ordered the touchscreen netbooks from Compal...leading to speculation that the next Chromebook will be purely Google-branded. ...in April 2011, Google confirmed that it was working on a tablet version of [Chrome OS] though the company didn't say whether any products would come of it.

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Although Google first thought Chromebooks would compete with traditional laptops, they now seem like closer competitors to inexpensive tablets. ... A Chrome OS tablet-laptop hybrid would...be welcome for those times when you need to juggle lots of...tabs, and a mobile browser just won't suffice. ...the idea of a touchscreen Chromebook seems like a matter of when, rather than if.  MORE

Matt Burns is on fire:

If true, this is a smart move and would help the fledgling desktop platform gain traction. ... China Times reports...Compal, a Taiwan-based ODM, is tasked with the manufacturing. ... Internal components will begin shipping to Compal this month, a sign that...the product itself will ship yet in 2012.

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it’s at least logical for Google to cut out hardware partners and keep the razor-thin margins to itself. ... The hardware game is changing. Microsoft now sells its own hardware...Nokia is going up market...Apple’s long-term dominance is in question [and] Windows 8 launch hardware is expensive. ... Enter Chrome OS.  MORE

And Phil Muncaster nets this fishy rumor:

The 12.85in notebook will be [Google’s] first own-branded effort, with...Wintek to provide the all-important touch panel display, said...supply chain sources. ... Google has apparently ordered 20 million units...expected at the earliest by the end of the year.

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As to how Google’s partners will react to news it will be own-branding a device remains to be seen.  MORE

But Jonny Evans notes that Apple is vulnerable in the cloud:

Apple's history does show provision of Internet-based services as one of its weakest points. ...lost and delayed messages, service unavailability and other foibles show just hard Apple finds it to maintain a service.

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Internet services [are] ever more important...a world in which data is free, apps are easily available and almost every aspect of an OS is user-configurable. That's...a Google advantage. ...we could be approaching the moment when Google finally defeats its smartphone rival...for Apple to deliver such services, it may need to refine its internal culture...change its corporate soul. And that is indeed a profound change.  MORE

Meanwhile, Jerry Daniels can't wait:

YES, I would go for a touchscreen Chromebook in a big way. ... These are cheap enough to collect like baseball cards. I’d much rather NOT see it sullied with Android.  MORE

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