Google’s Lack Of Product Isolation Would Support A Chrome OS And Android Merge

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alphabet Edges Toward Settling the Android or Chrome Question.

Chrome OS, the “cloud” operating system that Google introduced for laptops and Android, the operating system on phones and tablets may become one, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. 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.

Google is merging its stripped-down Chrome operating system – not to be confused with the popular Chrome browser – into its Android software for mobile devices, a person familiar with the matter said. I’ve personally spoken to sources over the past few years about it, some play the “one could imagine” game when discussing a “merger” of the two projects. The Journal reports that Chrome is essentially being folded into Android, because Android has emerged as the dominant operating system by quite a long stretch.

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. Combining the two operating systems means setting up Android to run on laptops and desktop computers, which would require big changes, as well as supporting the Google Play Store. It is the most popular mobile operating system in Australia, beating Apple’s iOS, but is used on many different makes of phone, as opposed to just iPhone. This new operating system will also run on PCs, according to the report, so people will be able to access Google’s Play Store and other content offerings from laptops and other computers. It’s not clear exactly when the new version of Android may launch but the report said Google would not officially reveal it until 2017, though the company may preview an early version sometime in 2016.

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. Its development was led by an executive named Andy Rubin, who went on to lead much of the company’s robotics efforts before leaving Google last year. While this is a major and somewhat surprising move — Chromebooks have been fairly successful and are a great low-cost computer option — it’s easy to see how Google got here.

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. It’s a little top heavy and not as comfortable as the PlayStation VR (I wear glasses and it was weighing down on them quite heavily, leaving behind a red mark on my nose that later disappeared), but the visual experience it provided was just as good, if not slightly better in some instances. This is largely thanks to the two specially designed controllers made for it that offer slightly more functionality and freedom than PlayStation’s Move controllers (those glowing coloured orbs on a stick). The fact that Google’s team behind one of the most premium Chromebooks designed a new Android tablet could be seen as a sign the company is changing the way they think about Android and Chrome.

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. Instead, HTC has teamed up with with game company Valve, maker of the Steam platform, to bring you their VR experience, meaning you’re going to be tethering this piece of kit to your PC (and don’t think you can get by using it on some laptop you bought in 2010. Rebranding these devices, which tend to be cheaper than most laptops and premium tablets, under the Android name could stand to attract more users to the platform. 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.

Instead, he stayed practical, and said that developing operating systems can’t be done in isolation from the components they use and the devices they’ll run on. Unless you’ve gone diving before, not many people in the world have probably been able to approach a whale or any animal that lives in the sea larger themselves.

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. As the title suggests, you’re an office worker tasked with completing a series of mundane tasks: Eating doughnuts; firing employees using a large “fired’ stamp after grabbing the employee’s file from a filing cabinet; making a coffee; plugging in PC and printer power cables; and logging into a computer to print out a photo.

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. Apart from the fun games, the Vive also has a pretty nifty feature that I haven’t seen in any of the Sony’s PlayStation VR demos I’ve played so far that prevents you from running into walls. Then, once in the game, if you walk too close to a wall in the real world then a virtual representation of it is overlaid on top of the virtual world you’re in to prevent you from a collision. Mcree, HTC senior manager of product marketing, said it was unlikely for some time due to the fact 15-20 gigabits per second of data is currently being fed to the Vive headset, and wireless technologies aren’t fast enough to deal with that just yet.

One can only hope boffins can make wireless go faster sometime soon, or VR headset engineers can find some magical compression algorithm for the video, and a way to have low latency, wireless gaming. And that’s the final thing I wanted to point out about the Vive: all the demos I tried were all about walking around, whereas the demos for most Sony games required you to be sitting.

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