The Chinese news organization, The Commercial Times is reporting Google will launch its own 12.85-inch touch notebook with Chrome OS in the first quarter of 2013. Yes, that said TOUCH. The news agency says Compal Electronics and Wintek are already working on OEM and touch panel production. The screen will reportedly combine the touch sensor and glass via a process called optical lamination which allows for a much thinner device. New iMacs and some smartphones also use this process to achieve razor thin form factors.
Since Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility there has been a great deal of speculation regarding when Google would produce its own hardware. That speculation along with comments from former CEO Eric Schmidt about Google’s desire to be in the hardware business and you get a sense this might be the beginning of Google hardware. A touch chromebook would certainly place Google in a position to compete with Microsoft’s Surface and maybe even go after Apple’s iMac market.