Is Chrome OS merging with Android? What does this mean for Chromebook?

According to The Wall Street Journal, Chrome OS will be merging into Android and the new combined OS will be revealed next year. Due to the popularity and dominance of Android operating system, Chrome OS is being folded into Android. Combining these operating systems means preparing Android to run on Chromebox and Chromebook, which would definitely require a lot of big changes, along with supporting the Google Play Store. Chromebook will supposedly get another name to represent the new OS.

There is no official news about the release of the new operating system at this time. While this is a significant and surprising move, Chromebooks have been quite successful in the last few years and are a decent low-cost computer option. It’s anything but difficult to see how Google got here. A lot of moves have been made to bring these two operating systems closer in the past two years. One example is adding support for certain Android apps within the Chrome OS. Although support is still very limited, some Android apps run pretty well on Chromebook and Chromebox. A convertible Android laptop called the Pixel C, was also revealed by Google last month. It appears like an early sign of what’s to come

Combining two operating systems, where one designed for mobile devices and the other for a larger screen isn’t unheard of. Microsoft combined its desktop and mobile platforms with Windows 10 with an end goal to simplify the user experience across all Windows devices. Microsoft also provided many tools to developers to support the development of universal apps which will run on Windows 10, be it a smartphone or a computer. Apple on the other hand, has announced it has no plans to merge OS X and iOS into a single platform. Yet.

The two platforms would definitely benefit from borrowing certain features from one another, for example, adding the Play Store (along with its 1.75 million Android apps) to Chrome OS, and bringing multitasking-experience of Chrome OS to Android. Additionally, Android would benefit from the security features of Chrome OS, which will support an area of Android in which it has long struggled.

The merger of Chrome OS into Android will bring huge changes to Android. The mobile OS is terrible with a keyboard and mouse (or touchpad), and it would require a massive UI improvement to work on Chrome OS-style hardware. On the other hand, Android has no scalable update solution, while Chrome OS has a seamless, controlled, silent update process. Part of the magic of Chrome OS for businesses and schools is that it’s relatively easy to use, easy to manage, and easy to update. Will the merge actually happen? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Posted OCT 31ST 2015

More articles >