Google is ‘very committed’ to Chrome OS after Android merger reports

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alphabet’s Google to Fold Chrome Operating System Into Android.

plans to merge its Chrome OS for laptops with Android, says a report in the Wall Street Journal, which quotes people who are familiar with the company’s plans. Google co-founder Sergey Brin (R) gestures while talking about a giant balloon of “Project Loon” to Indonesian delegates at the Google office in Mountain View, California. According to the report, engineers have been working on the plan for the last two years and the new single OS will be launched in 2017, although an early build could be revealed by next year. The combined software will probably be previewed in 2016 and debut the following year, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plan isn’t yet public. I’ve spoken to sources over the past few years about it, and some played the “one could imagine” game when discussing a “merger” of the two projects.

The move represents a unification between two software platforms whose dividing line has blurred in recent years, as mobile phones take on more of the capabilities of traditional computers. Interestingly, Chrome, Chromecast and Android’s senior VP Hiroshi Lockheimer took to Twitter after the report and said that the company is seeing a “ton of momentum for Chromebooks” and that they are still “very committed to Chrome OS.” Chrome OS currently runs on Google’s Internet-connected laptops and offers a more web-browser based experience for computing. And evidently, given the rise of Android, and the limitation with Chrome OS, Google is considering a move to merge the two forks and roll out a single operating system by 2017. Mobile rules the world, and Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai (he previously oversaw Chrome, Chrome OS, Apps and added Android to his purview in 2013) stated as such during Alphabet’s recent earnings call. Chrome OS, which shares roots with the Chrome browser, was developed in-house and was unveiled in 2009 as the company sought to embed its services into traditional computers.

Chrome OS was Google’s effort to bring the Web and browser-centric experience to more devices, encouraging users to access all software and apps through its Chrome browser on cheap, stripped-down laptops. A merged strategy would result in a more efficient operating system that focusses on the larger spectrum of device form factors from mobile phones, smartphones, phablets, tablets, hybrid 2-in-1s and laptops, and also larger screens such as smart TVs that are already powered by Android. The WSJ report says that the “move is a long-awaited recognition that the different computing approaches embodied by Android and Chrome are no longer relevant to Google.” Another report on The Verge, which also says that Chrome and Android will merge, quotes a Google spokesperson as saying that there is no Chrome OS kill-off being planned. That should help Google woo more outside developers who want to write apps once and have them work on as many gadgets as possible, with little modification. Then there’s the Fast Company article that featured Hiroshi Lockheimer (SVP Android, Chrome OS and Chromecast at Google), where this topic kinda/sorta/definitely came up: Toward the end of our conversation, I asked Lockheimer how much time he spent thinking about Android’s and Chrome OS’s future past the next release or two, and what they might look like a few years from now.

Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, who led the development of the Chrome operating system in 2009, told analysts on a call last week that “mobile as a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of as desktop today.” Microsoft Corp. adopted a similar approach, creating versions of its Windows 10 operating system to power PCs and phones, allowing some apps to run on both devices. Chief Executive Tim Cook said last month that combining them “subtracts from both, and you don’t get the best experience from either.” There has long been speculation that Google would combine the two operating systems. Whether products come and go or get folded into other things, the decisions come with all of the work and learnings that have been done to back them up.

Davis said. “Android is so ubiquitous and so many people are used to using it.” Folding Chrome into Android also might help Google win more workplace customers for its productivity apps, such as Docs and Sheets, which would run more seamlessly across different devices.

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