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