There’s only one Chromebook on the market today that features a touchscreen display. But that hasn’t stopped developers at Google for adding support for an on-screen keyboard to the latest dev channel update of Chrome OS.

If you’re using a Chromebook Pixel (or another Chrome OS device, I suppose), you can now turn on the keyboard by visiting chrome://flags in a browser window and enabling the virtual keyboard flag.

Chrome OS keyboard

At this point the keyboard is a work in progress which doesn’t take full advantage of the width of the Chromebook Pixel’s display. But it pops up when you tap on a text input box, just like you’d expect a keyboard to do on a touchscreen device.

The Chromebook Pixel may have a touchscreen, but it also has a pretty excellent keyboard right below the screen. So there’s really not much reason to use the on-screen keyboard.

But it’s possible that Google’s Chrome OS developers are using the Pixel to test features for upcoming tablet-style devices. This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen evidence that future Chrome OS devices could have slate or tablet/notebook hybrid designs.

via François Beaufort

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4 replies on “Chrome OS dev channel brings a virtual keyboard for touchscreen devices”

  1. What’s below maybe should be put as a separate post:

    4. Ultimately, I am trying to have as much of the Chromebook environment on my Macbook, where I can get ever Windows in a partition, as possible.

    5. Moreover, I anticipate buying a Samsung Note 2, and using a btooth keyboard, so that I can — I hope — built as much of a Chromebk as possible. 6. Purpose: to practice on the environment, even using the keyboard shortcuts ( or many of them) to determine how effective such an environment is, period, and how necessary a separate machine or Chromebook laptop is needed. [I agree that without ChromeOS’s sandboxing and boot protection, etc., I would lack the defeat of malware tools, but I would have the rest of the Chromebk All Apps In the Cloud to test.]

  2. 1. I checkd chrome://flags and as of today, there was no entry pert to keyboard (used even my pages search tool on my Macbook Pro. 2. So, how do I get to activate this Chrome OS keyboard, in conjunction with my MacBk?
    3. Knowing that my MacBk is not a touch screen device, will I just use my arrow-cursor and touchpad for clicking?
    Also, I wish to test the Samsung Note 8 tablet. But its Android OS seems to allow only the Samsung keyboard or Google’s. Somehow I would have to get ChromeOS’s download, so I can use it. And maybe and external keyboard btoothed to it, to use it. How much of this can be done?

    4. I seem to find that external keyboards once btoothd, are overridden by the native keyboard. Only where there may be some key comb not used by the native keybd does the new environment (say chrome:// ), work.

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