Google To Kill Chrome OS, Merge It With Android In 2016: Report

31 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google may merge Chrome and Android.

Sundar Pichai, now CEO of Google, speaks during the Google I/O 2015 keynote presentation in San Francisco, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) In a little over a year, Chrome and Android might be the same thing. Android, Google’s operating system for mobile phones and tablets, and Chrome OS, its operating system for laptop computers, will soon be merged into one piece of software, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Two people familiar with the matter told the Journal that Google engineers have been working on combining the operating systems since 2013, and that the company might show off an early version of the new OS next year. By contrast, Chrome OS accounted for about five percent of laptop sales in 2014, and while top-shelf Chrome OS computers such as the Chromebook Pixel exist, most of those sales were sub-$300 models. Android needs to be modified so that it can run smoothly on laptop and desktop computers, which means supporting keyboard and mouse input, allowing for much larger displays, and letting the system take advantage of high-end graphics cards. Despite assurances (likely aimed to calm the fears among current and potential partners), doing away with Chrome OS in favor of Android isn’t such a bad idea because of how successful Android has become.

Adding the OS to laptops seems like a natural progression of sorts, and would streamline the experience for users on all devices running Google software. The move might also encourage developers who would typically gravitate to iOS first to choose Android/Chrome instead, since it will allow them to reach more customers.

That’s the route Microsoft started down with Windows 8 and continued in Windows 10, which employs “universal apps” that run on tiny phone screens and brawny desktop PCs alike. In fact, I noted the similarities in my review of the ASUS Chromebook Flip back in July saying, ”I can’t help but wonder when the company will offer users a Chrome OS tablet.” The two platforms would benefit from borrowing features from one another, such as bringing Chrome OS’s multitasking-experience to Android, and adding the Play Store (with its 1.75 million Android apps) to Chrome OS. A separate report from The Verge suggests that Google won’t be killing off the existing operating systems as part of the merger, but instead will create a new merged version as a third operating system that exists in addition to the existing two. I just bought two for my kids for schoolwork!” That means that Chrome OS features probably won’t disappear entirely as the software is folded in to Android – instead, Google will try to combine the strengths of both operating systems to create something that’s reasonably pleasant to use no matter what size screen you’re on.

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