The existence of two Google developed operating systems, the massively popular Android for Mobile, and the more niche ChromeOS for desktop computing, has often confused tech pundits and seemingly consumers. But a report by the Wallstreet Journal is saying that a new blended OS could be coming in 2017, with a demo of the product to be shown off as early as next year.
The WSJ has cited the growing dominance of mobile computing as one of the drivers for Google blending their two operating systems, and though ChromeOS would be pulled into Android, Chrome as a browser would continue.
The Journal cited a comment on last weeks earnings call, where Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, said ‘mobile as a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of as desktop today’ as a hint at the blended OS.
The move would see Chromebooks rebranded…to something, and Android brought to the fore as the primary OS moving forward.
The build of Android as a the primary desktop computing interface would give users access to over a million apps through Google Play, as well as helping developers reach an audience of both desktop and mobile users – something Microsoft has been doing with their Windows 10 initiative, which sees one app essentially used on all their Windows 10 based platforms.
The move would also give Google a way to get services such as Search and YouTube, which the WSJ describes as their ‘moneymaking services’ in front of more people.
The plan at the moment is to introduce the unified OS in 2017, though a build will be shown off next year said one of the people ‘familiar with the matter’.
The combined OS would certainly make more sense with the launch of the Pixel C, the Android tablet that Google introduced at their recent Nexus launch event in San Francisco. The tablet/keyboard combo is very much in the vein of ChromeOS and many were surprised to see a Pixel branded tablet running Android rather than ChromeOS. This Halo product could be the keystone for trying out builds of the OS, with Google telling reporters at the event that the tablet would receive updates every 6 weeks.
Whether this report is based on the end result of a game of Chinese whispers, we’ll have to wait and see. As both a ChromeOS and Android fan, I see the utility of both, but if the functions I love from ChromeOS could be rolled into Android, it could be a real winner for Google here.
What do you think? Could Android and ChromeOS be meshed together? What parts need to be retained from ChromeOS to make it work?