Hiroshi Lockheimer: We are very committed to Chrome OS

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

San Francisco: Google is merging its stripped-down Chrome operating system for affordable laptops into its Android software for mobile devices, a person familiar with the matter said.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. Before taking charge as the Google chief, Sundar Pichai was responsible for a team that developed its Chrome OS which ran on its Chromebook line of laptops. 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.

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. 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. 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 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.

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.

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. 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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