Google is reportedly merging its Android and Chrome OS into a single operating system, which will be revealed next year. The final OS is expected to eventually debut in 2017.
The tech giant is reportedly assimilating Chrome OS into Android for PCs, although Google reps have since stated that both platforms will continue to exist as separate entities. According to Wall Street Journal, engineers have been working on the new OS for the past two years.
What that means is that, mobile computing for Android will remain largely the same, but Google is extending Android-like functionality to PC. The company is reportedly going to offer its OEM partners for Chrome OS the option to stick with their current platform, or switch to the new Android-based OS. The new operating system will also be compatible with the Google Play Store. To reflect the changes in structure, Chrome OS will get a new name, although the Chrome browser (which already runs on both platforms) will stay the same.
The move clearly defines Google’s focus on the Android operating system. That isn’t surprising considering that, though the Chromebook is a great device by itself, it’s a niche product; most users would either prefer the mobility of an Android smartphone or tablet, or the stability of a good old laptop. This reshaping can let Google expose more people to Android on a different hardware platform, as well as attracting developers who would be more than happy to work on just one version of an app that has multi-platform support.
Google, however, insists they’re still committed to the Chrome OS, and you don’t have to worry about it disappearing any time soon.