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08 April 2011, 12:26

Google testing tablet version of Chrome OS

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Zoom A Chrome OS Tablet mock-up from Google.
Source: Google
According to a report from CNET, Google has started testing a tablet version of its Chrome OS, the company's browser-based operating system. To date, the OS has only appeared on laptop devices, but, as CNET points out, Google itself created mock-ups of a Chrome OS tablet over a year ago.

Several changes to the Chrome and Chrome OS source code from March and April show that internal development on tablet compatibility has already begun. These include references to virtual keyboard for on-screen touch input and also to "CrOS Touch", as opposed to just CrOS as before, in the text for the User-Agent string: a comment notes that this lets websites that are already customizing for tablet experiences easily adapt to support tablet ChromeOS devices." Additionally, further work has been done to make the browser more touch-friendly. UI Concepts for a Chrome OS tablet, including image renders and a short video, are available on

Google first announced Chrome OS in July of 2009, noting that it was aimed at laptop PCs and netbooks; source code for Chrome OS was first released later that year in November. The OS features a lightweight architecture based around a Linux kernel running a "new windowing system" which in turn runs a version of the company's Chrome web browser.

In December of last year, Google started issuing a limited number of notebooks aimed at developers and testers that included the Chrome OS. The notebook was known as Cr-48, a symbol for a rare chromium isotope, featured a 12.1-inch display, a large touch pad, a built-in 3G data connection, a webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi functionality and a full size keyboard (without CAPS LOCK and function keys, as Google pointed out). A retail device running Chrome OS has yet to ship, however; initial devices are expected to arrive this summer.

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