Alphabet to merge Android and Chrome OS, but Google’s saying nothing
Google is in the process of merging its two operating systems. The mobile powerhouse that is Android will join with Google’s stagnating web system Chrome OS to become one unified interface ready to roll out in 2017.
The report comes from The Wall Street Journal and claims that sources “familiar” with the matter believe Google’s plan is a reaction to the growing dominance of mobile computing. Google is said to have been working on combining its OSes for the last two years and, while it won’t come to market until 2017, we could see our first glimpse of it as early as next year.
Sources say that Google’s Chromebooks will be given a new, as yet undetermined, name, and will now have the added benefit of accessing the Google Play Store’s vast app catalogue.
This isn’t the end of Chrome, though. As a web browser, Google is keen to keep it running as strong as ever, ensuring its dominance over the world continues. Chrome OS will also stay afloat, but only as an open-source OS for other manufacturers to use on their laptops if they so wish. Google’s focus is firmly on turning Android into a laptop and desktop OS too.
As you can imagine, Google has swept in to issue some damage control around the reports. Android and Chrome OS senior vice president Hiroshi Lockheimer took to Twitter to say: “There’s a ton of momentum for Chromebooks and we are very committed to Chrome OS.”
A Google spokesperson also confirmed to The Verge that Chrome OS is not being “killed”, despite the publication corroborating the initial reports with its own sources.
It’s worth remembering that reports of both OSes merging have persisted for quite some time, and Google really hasn’t helped the situation. We’ve seen Android expand outwards into smartwatches, cars and TVs and even Google’s hybrid device, the Pixel C, runs completely on Android despite its laptop-like intentions. So, while Chromebooks won’t be going away anytime soon, it’s clear that Google has its computer ambitions firmly focused on Android.