Google didn’t just kill Chrome OS, but an Android merger seems likely

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google didn’t just kill Chrome OS, but an Android merger seems likely.

The tech world got an early Halloween scare Thursday evening when the Wall Street Journal reported Google would “fold” Chrome OS into Android sometime in the next two years. The two operating systems have co-existed in a separate but symbiotic way for several years, but it has been clear that the situation was not tenable or even logical in the longer term. Google itself has denied that Chrome OS is going away, and several other reports also claim the browser-based operating system will stick around in some form.

With Android comfortably sitting as the world’s most widely used operating system, it seemed only a matter of time before Chrome OS, based on the popular Chrome Browser was rolled in. Chromebooks, laptops powered by Chrome OS, are proving increasingly popular due to their low cost and increasing app availability and yet still only account for three percent of the laptop market.

An Android runtime for Chrome browser and Chrome OS already exists, but Google has been sparing on the number of apps it makes available through this method. While the lines between these device categories are blurring, with more shared features across the two platforms, the Journal’s report was the first recent indication that a full merger was underway.

The reveal of the Chromebook Pixel C, the company’s flagship business product, which is to be powered by Android rather than Chrome should have been the first hint that the internal war between the cloud apps of Chrome and the downloaded apps of Android had been won. By concentrating on Android, Google will also be able to entice even more developers who will be able to create apps that will run on anything from a watch to a motor car to a television with very little adaptation, all available through the Play Store which offers far more apps than the Chrome Web Store. The WSJ’s sources have said that Chromebooks will get a new name (we’re hoping for Droidbook) and that Chrome will remain the name of its browser, which will, logically have full access to run Play Store apps on any system increasing the potential user base by billions of devices.

The decision brings a headache for Microsoft who has recently been working hard, some would say too hard, on bringing all its devices under a single banner of Windows 10, but has failed to inspire some key areas of the market, including the mobile edition which is yet to manifest. Although we’ve seen some Android laptops and desktops before, right now the operating system isn’t really optimized for mouse and keyboard use, and isn’t conducive to multitasking. Meanwhile Google has a proven track record in bringing Android to a vast range of devices, with a conversion of its laptop machines being the final frontier towards making a dramatic fight for dominance against Microsoft. Apple, on the other hand has said that it will continue to keep its mobile and desktop operating systems complimentary but separated, with Tim Cook believing that both would be diluted by a merger. µ While it’s possible that Google’s denials are only meant to placate schools and businesses, chances are it’ll keep offering Chrome OS to them anyway.

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