Rumors of a Chrome OS tablet have been making the rounds for years. But 2017 might be the year we finally see one… well, depending on your definition of a tablet.

Last year’s Asus Chromebook Flip is arguably the first convertible Chromebook tablet, and a number of other convertibles with built-in keyboards have been released since the Flip first launched.

But this year we may see models with detachable keyboards or no keyboard at all.

Acer Chromebook Spin 11

Google unveiled two new convertible Chromebooks today, noting that they’re aimed at the education market and feature support for pen input.

But The Verge reports that yesterday Google’s Android and Chrome product director Rajen Seth made an interesting comment during a conference call ahead of today’s announcement “You may expect everything from detachables to tablets based on Chrome OS down the line.”

Up until recently, Google has drawn a pretty firm line between its Android and Chrome operating systems: Chrome was for notebooks and desktops, and Android was for smartphones and tablets (and TVs and watches, kind of).

But now you can run Android apps on a Chrome OS device… blurring the distinction between the two operating systems. And that comes at a time when Windows device makers have been blurring the lines between tablets and notebooks thanks to the rise of 2-in-1 devices with detachable and built-in keyboards in recent years.

Chrome OS has support touchscreen input for several years, including an on-screen keyboard and handwriting recognition which make it possible to run the operating system on devices that don’t have a keyboard. Support for Android apps brings all the benefits of native apps (including the ability to get work done while you’re offline), as well as support for the full Chrome desktop browser that allows you to view desktop versions of websites and install extensions to expand the capabilities of the browser.

Sure, there are still some things that you can do on a Windows or Mac computer that aren’t supported out-of-the-box on a Chrome OS device. But it’s getting harder to say that Chrome OS isn’t a “real” operating system… and if you’re skeptical, you could always wipe the OS and install an alternative. But you don’t even need to do that, since Chrome OS lets you enable a developer mode that makes it possible to run Ubuntu, Debian, or other Linux-based operating systems on a Chromebook without uninstalling Chrome OS (or even rebooting the device).

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17 replies on “Chrome OS tablets may be in the works”

  1. I still think Chrome OS is totally pointless. I still see it as just a browser. I said the same thing when comparing cheap Windows laptops with Chromebooks. You can just install Chrome on Windows and do everything Chrome OS can do, but much much more. The same applies with Chrome OS vs Android. You can just install Chrome on Android and do the same things, but also much much more. So really, what’s the point of Chrome OS?

    1. The browser on Android is not desktop class. That’s not even a discussion.
      Windows can do a lot more but at the cost of increased complexity and increased maintenance hassles and decreased security. The key word there being cost.
      So if I need to do xyz then why increase my cost by purchasing a device that can do abcdxyz?
      And again, don’t mistake me. I’m not talking about just the purchase price here.
      The answer is I don’t. I buy a Chromebook which does all I need it to do and basically delivers on the appliance computing experience Windows has been trying to pretend it is for years and years but which it has never been and still isn’t now.
      You read a lot about how the success of Chrome OS is only because they were cheaper to buy. After having a Chromebook for several years let me tell you – I’d pay as much or more than for a Windows machine with comparable hardware.
      Now Chrome OS doesn’t do everything I need to do in every instance. For that I have a linux box. But for the average user a browser is all you need on a computer. Everything else is a waste.

      1. You read a lot about the success of ChromeOS because Google pays for fluff pieces to say something good about ChromeOS. The independent trackers aren’t showing any success for ChromeOS.

          1. Do you often accuse people that speak the truth of being Trump? What does that say about you?

          2. You can say this about me. I cannot always tell the difference between trolls and fools but I know not to carry on conversations with either one.

          3. Any conversation you are a part of has at least one troll and a fool participating. You’re often one in the same.

    2. with a chromebook u dont need to worry about picking up a nasty virus or spyware that could disable your machine. you dont have to worry about it getting slower over time. you dont have to worry about updates making your machine unavailable, or destabilizing your machine. even the butt monkey ordeith has seen the light and is switching to a chromebook

      1. Android isn’t that bad with malware and Windows has gotten a lot more secure in recent years. I for one am careful about what I download from the Android app store and as for Windows, I never have to worry about viruses, windows defender which is built in now is very good and in the past 10 years, I haven’t had a virus on any Windows PC.

        1. trust me chrome os is better for most things. the only shortcoming of chromebooks is the fact that they generally have lower powered cpu’s and they are a little more expensive than windows. but u can tell by the intelligence of the people who use chromebooks. the only losers still using windows are butt pirates like ordeith who are being buttfingered by bill gates and nardella

          1. ChromeOS is better at nothing. Only a fool would trust an intellectually challenged ChromeOS user who is desperately trying to justify his poor decisions.

            >”but u can tell by the intelligence of the people who use chromebooks

            True. You use a ChromeBook, and your low intelligence speaks volumes about the quality of their users.

          2. You’re totally ignoring the fact that Android can also do everything a chromebook can do and more. And Android tablets and laptops are cheaper too. I think you just like Chromebooks because you want to be some kind of tech hipster or something and since 90% of all computers in the world run Windows, that’s a big no-no for hipsters. And I remember a long time ago when people used to say Macs don’t get viruses or hacked. Well they were very wrong. As long as a Chromebook can connect to the internet, it can get viruses or get hacked. There’s no such thing as a perfect system. Also, Chrome OS is not better for most things. Let me know when you can run Adobe Premiere, GTA 5, Call of Duty, Steam, Visual Studio, etc on a chromebook. And compared to Android, same thing. Let me know when Chrome OS can do everything Android can do, not just run a few android apps.

      2. No one is using ChromeOS. You don’t have to worry about spyware, because it’s built in. You don’t have to worry about disability because ChromeOS is severely crippled out of the box.

        Only the foolish use ChromeOS.

        1. LOL. You sad, gullible fool.

          Google is an expert at psychological warfare and manipulation and they often slice and dice numbers until they can manufacture a win to trumpet to the weak minded. Chromebook sales most assuredly do NOT exceed Mac sales, and they NEVER have. You really should use more critical thinking skills when reading the fluff pieces Google sponsors.
          You would have seen that they narrowed the market to a specific segment in a specific region (because they lost worldwide) and a specific time period (what they wanted to show only happened during one quarter where OEMs were offloading their dusty shelf filling inventory of unsold ChromeBooks on unsuspecting US schools for the tax write off) that has never been repeated.

          Google is not an entity you can trust or take at face value, the sooner you realize this the better off you’ll be.

          1. ChromeOS usage is down 8% in the last month. That’s sure some writing. LOL. Are you sure you know how to read?

  2. I wonder if this hybrid system will be able to support VPN that covers all connections (services, deamons, browser, etc) and real-time scanning firewall (inbound and outbound). It’s hard to take seriously without these security features even if both ChromeOS and Android make a mockery of privacy via surveillance, data sharing, tracking…

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