There have been plenty of signs and it's now clearer than ever that Google is working on a touch input Chromebook, to be released later this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that sources close to the company have confirmed that such a device is coming soon.
There aren't many other details, there's no word on who's actually building the touchscreen Chromebook, the specs or price.
Google has been experimenting with touch-input Chrome OS devices since the beginning, a virtual keyboard has been included for years.
But no device with touch input ever came out, most likely for a multitude of reasons. For one, touchscreens big enough to fit on a laptop, even a small one, were quite expensive.
The device would also have competed with Android tablets. What's more, it wasn't clear that people wanted touch input in a laptop.
On the software side, Chrome and Chrome OS were never designed for touch input and the web certainly isn't. Now though, the time may be just right for such a device and Google can thank Microsoft for that.
Microsoft's push to have touch input in Windows 8 and the number of laptops with touchscreens coming out means that the world is ready to buy a touch input device and that the parts are cheaper than ever.
The web is also slowly starting to adapt to touch input, though that has been happening for a few years now, thanks to Apple's iPad.
All in all, a mixture of factors means that Google can build a touchscreen Chromebook that people would want to buy and have something to do with it.
It also means that Google can build such a device relatively cheap, close to the price of the regular, "higher-end" Chromebooks, perhaps a little more expensive than the cheapest iPad.