Touch­screen Chrome­books

Chrome OS’s source code just spilled the beans, writes Chris Hoff­man

PC Advisor - - CONTENTS -

Pres­sure-sen­si­tive touch­screens are be­com­ing an in­creas­ingly com­mon sight these days, and Chrome­books are set to get in on the act. Re­cent changes to Chrome OS’s source code show Google is work­ing on sup­port for pres­sure-sen­si­tive touch­screens, or what’s known as ‘3D Touch’ on the iPhone.

This change was first spot­ted by Chrome Un­boxed. It no­ticed that the op­er­at­ing sys­tem’s de­vel­op­ers have been adding sup­port for touch­screens made by Melfas, a Korean com­pany. More in­ter­est­ingly, the source code for the touch­screen driver in­cludes ref­er­ences to two types of touch: ‘Touch only’ and ‘Touch + Force (Pres­sure)’.

Google re­cently re­leased An­droid 7.0 Nougat, which was sup­posed to in­clude sup­port for pres­sure-sen­si­tive dis­plays. Un­for­tu­nately, this was de­layed. Still, there are An­droid phones with pres­sure-sen­si­tive screens, and Google will want to get all An­droid phone man­u­fac­tur­ers on board with a com­mon stan­dard – just as it added stan­dard­ised fin­ger­print reader sup­port with its Marsh­mal­low OS.

With An­droid get­ting this fea­ture and the en­tire Google Play Store and all its apps com­ing to Chrome­books, it makes sense for Google to add pres­sure-sen­si­tive dis­play sup­port to its lap­tops as well. It’s un­clear whether that pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity will be used for any­thing out­side of An­droid apps that use it, though. This doesn’t mean a Chrome­book with a pres­sure-sen­si­tive touch­screen is on its way any time soon. Google is just adding the low-level code, and man­u­fac­tur­ers must choose to build ma­chines with pres­sure­sen­si­tive screens even when the firm fully sup­ports this hard­ware. It’s also worth not­ing that your old Chrome­book won’t get this fea­ture – you’ll need a new model.

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