GOOGLE HAS DECLINED TO COMMENT on reports that large numbers of Chromebooks have been borked by the latest version of Chrome OS.
The problem stems from the touchpad and its "Touch to Click" feature, which seems to have stopped registering clicks after the upgrade. This is particularly crucial as some models of Chromebook have done away with the mechanical touchpad buttons altogether.
The problem is a huge embarrassment for Google in its efforts to get Chrome OS recognised as a viable alternative to Windows. Posters to the Chromium community forums are fuming, with one teacher in charge of 700 Chromebooks used by children at his school highlighting the gravity of the problem by saying, "I'm only posting here because I am seeing people claim this is a hardware issue. I am ICT at a school with 700 Chromebooks. Monday morning we had 50 kids lined up with trackpad problems after the update that came through."
Some had suggested a catastrophic hardware failure, but the problem occurs across different makes and models, indicating otherwise.
Google rolled out Chrome OS version 35 last week, including organisation options for the app launcher, universal activation of the "OK Google" voice control command and better control for logging in to public WiFi hotspots.
Google's Chrome OS community manager Andrea Mesterhazy has acknowledged the problem in the forums, however when we contacted Google directly, it said it had nothing to add to the reports.
Google will begin to face competition in the cheap notebook sector from Microsoft, after it was announced this week that it will offer a new, cheaper "Windows 8.1 with Bing" OS to device makers. µ