Report: Google to fold Chrome OS into Android by 2017

by: Jimmy WestenbergOctober 29, 2015
2.2K
Chromebook-Pixel-1

For years now, there has been an awkward disconnect between Google’s two main operating systems – Chrome OS and Android. While Android was geared towards more touch-friendly interfaces such as smartphones and tablets, Chrome OS was better suited for the desktop, which is why Google powered all of its Chromebooks with the lean OS. Unsurprisingly, that might be changing sometime soon, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.

The single OS will become available in the year 2017

The report states that, according to people familiar with the matter, Google plans to fold its Chrome OS into Android by the year 2017. Google engineers have supposedly been working for roughly two full years on the big transition, and have just made significant progress recently. The single operating system will become officially available in the year 2017, though Google will show off an early version next year.

The new version of Android will also run on PCs and will have access to the Google Play Store. Google apparently wants to get its moneymaking software (Search and YouTube) on as many devices as possible, so what better way to do it than this. Additionally, Chromebooks will apparently be renamed, though the new name has yet to be revealed. Google’s Chrome browser will retain the Chrome name.

pixel c first look aa (2 of 12)Related: Google Pixel C hands-on and first look59

Although it sounds like a stark change in mindset, this should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been watching Chrome OS and Android develop throughout the years. We’ve seen Microsoft do the same thing with Windows 10, which allows some applications to run on both PCs and mobile devices. Google just recently unveiled a new tablet at its big Nexus event in September called the Pixel C, which, oddly enough, runs Android. It’s the first device in the company’s Pixel line of laptops to drop Chrome OS and run Android, which was no doubt an interesting move. Google has also made Android applications available on Chrome recently, which should be the biggest sign of the two operating systems coming together.

  • catapult

    Lol, somebody’s looking after the Microsoft model ;p , I bet, apple will try to do something similar with ios and Mac OS in the coming years

    • Jimmy Westenberg

      Who knows. Apple has been pretty adamant about keeping mobile and desktop operating systems separate throughout the years. Wonder if they’ll follow suit after they see Android’s success.

      • catapult

        I’m pretty sure, when this market catches up, they will release their own and try to take all the credits calling it first of its kind ever, one OS to rule it all etc etc, just, the same thing it always does

        • “You made this? I made this.” – apple

          • Timothy Lim

            I don’t think they’ll say that…
            Since the average consumer would just think that way…

          • John Doe

            It’s hard to keep up with all of the crap they try to make their own ..
            Surprising they haven’t touted themselves as God by now .. lol

      • catapult

        See they were pretty adamant about the size of the iPad, and now they have an iPad pro after the surface pro success, same goes for their pencil, they believed finger is the best stylus of all, same goes with phablets after the samsung revolution, they thought phablets were too big for use

        • catapult

          The truth being told, apple does make quality hardware but all the innovation part, it went to the grave with Steve Jobs, so they have no other way but to follow what other revolutionary things are happening around, like phablets, wearables, larger tablet’s for business etc

      • avow

        Considering how Mac has not been selling, and how they keep breaking their own rules with bigger phones and ipods, it is safe to say OSX is on it’s last legs.

        • blanco112

          Mac sales were higher last year and last quarter than ever before.

    • p3ngwin

      actually Windows only recently consolidated their OS Kernels to begin offering a unified base OS with different user-facing experience.

      Chrome and Android have had a shared Kernel, with a different user-facing experience, for many years, so this news only continues what has been happening already.

      • Jack Silsan

        What’s it’s pretty surprizing to know, considering Chrome OS and Android have it’s own single app stores

        • p3ngwin

          not really much surprise, it takes a while to unify OS codebases enough that you can have a single App binaries compiled to work everywhere.

          Windows still has separate windows stores for desktop and mobile, yet the company is already currently claiming to have a unified OS, they don’t have the ecosystem or app stores in line yet at all.

          Google still have 2 years to go and you can bet their ecosystem will be much better aligned than Microsoft’s present messy effort.

          • Jack Silsan

            I respectfully disagree. A lot of Windows apps already are universal. See below
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d62cf70bc2e8100ac140ef5ece421778db6316fcfb90b0ab796db2bb4fb4cd30.png

          • p3ngwin

            you link to a single app that doesn’t even show windows desktop and mobile compatibility ?

            that proves nothing.

            “a lot” is yet to be demonstrated, as 99.99% of windows apps are still fragmented between desktop and mobile versions.

            like i said, Microsoft hasn’t even unified the different App stores, they’re completely different pages:

            https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/apps/windows

            https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/apps/windows-phone

            yet they’re advertising a “unified OS”.

            Microsoft have been advertising they are unifying applications for over a decade, ever since Xbox original with Direct-X, then Xbox 360 with XNA-framework, and all the time spent advertising “games for windows”, that they eventually canceled completely.

            Even now Microsoft is still banging the decade-old drum with Xbox1 saying they’ll have unified games for desktop Windows and console.

            yet to see anything unified from them anywhere.

          • Jack Silsan

            I didn’t send you a link, I show you one example. I could post tons of screenshots to show how much apps already are universal, but I just don’t want to do it.

            And the stores still split in two, but the key thing are the apps. Once apps are going universal, stores just will follow it and merge in one

          • p3ngwin

            You supplied a URL in your comment, that’s “linking” to content off this site.

            Your “example” screenshot doesn’t prove anything about universal apps between desktop and mobile windows. it literally showed nothing about what platform it was for at all.

            Not that it changes the fact 99.99% of apps are still fragmented between the two ecosystems.

            Fact remains 99.99% Microsoft apps are fragmented between desktop and mobile. Fact is Microsoft have claimed universal apps, yet they don’t even have a universal ecosystem or app store.

            You have shared nothing to prove otherwise, in fact you have admitted to refusing to.

          • Jack Silsan

            Every day lots of apps is becoming universal. But I won’t argue with you, I already got you won’t stop to disagree.

            If you want to put my words under test, try to use Windows 10 on desktop or on a smartphone.

          • p3ngwin

            there are ~700,000 Apps spread between Windows on desktop and mobile.

            There are less than 500 universal apps.

            Your words are under test because you have failed to support them, that’s why you can’t argue, you can’t prove your own point, and you even admitted refusing to. Probably out of laziness, or you don’t even believe your own words.

            Why should i use Windows 10 ? I’m happy on Windows 8.1.

            what does Installing Windows 10 prove to me ?

            you have no idea what you’re talking about.

            Microsoft have almost ZERO mobile global market share, so developers have no interest in tuning their apps to work for mobile interfaces.

            http://www.businessinsider.com.au/microsoft-universal-windows-app-in-windows-10-are-deeply-flawed-2015-8

            Microsoft has all but pulled-out of the smartphone market:

            http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/579206/microsoft-pulls-back-from-phone-business-announces-7-800-layoffs/

            Developers have no interest in Windows for mobile, especially as desktop apps work just fine for consumers, so Microsoft’s “universal apps” are DOA.

          • Josué Gutiérrez

            Well, 120 million desktop users so far + 70 million using windows phone, plus Xbox One Users, still more users with Mac OS X + Chrome OS combined. I can’t get why people say Windows Phone is a failure and nobody admits that Macs are not significant to anybody, their marketshare is so little but developers love to make apps for themselves on Mac. Is just stupid.

          • p3ngwin

            Windows phone is a failure, because it has next to ZERO global market share. Even Microsoft has pulled out of the Smartphone hardware market.

            Macs also have nothing compared to global PC’s in use. 80 Million v’s 1.2 Billion.

            as for the anecdote “developers love to make apps for them”, that anecdote doesn’t change the facts.

          • Josué Gutiérrez

            So you are saying 80m Macs > 70 m Windows Phones. And 1.5b Androids> 1.2 pcs? See what I am saying? Mac Market Share is lame.

          • p3ngwin

            you said you didn’t understand why people say Windows Phone is a failure, so i answered that.

            You said Macs have little market share (which is true), but developers “love making apps for them”, and i answered that too.

            Is there something else you want clarified ?

          • Josué Gutiérrez

            Why people keep saying Mac is a success for Apple when is near to Linux on market share as Windows Phone is to Blackberry? Nobody cares about Mac. Mac is a failed OS. A joke. But is Apple and Apple can’t fail.

          • p3ngwin

            this is all true, and was never disagreed on :)

            I suspect a language-barrier may be at play in your comments though, hence the uncertainty of what you’re trying to say.

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  • nebulaoperator

    Sooner or later it should have happened.

  • Singkawang

    or maybe, the new chromeOS can run android apk?
    (otherwise why would they need new name if chromeOS become android?)

    • The current already can, somewhat. As long as the app doesn’t have Google Services API, you can run the android app without doing anything already. http://bit.ly/1X0zhxU

  • 404

    I would love it if they did that!

  • Joe Knott

    I really enjoy using ChromeOS for simple browsing around campus and pulling up documents. Don’t know how I feel about this but I guess we will see.

  • ichuck7

    I’m guessing they are finally going to have multi window support. I know it’s in the code.

    • p3ngwin

      agreed, multi-window support in Android is a big clue to the direction they are going. It only makes sense on screens larger than smartphones, so it’s no surprise it’s aimed at tablets and laptops/desktops/AIO’s, etc

  • Jack Silsan

    That’s a comment from a guy who I talk in another discussion

    Google is folding Chrome into Android because Chrome is an abject failure. I’ve yet to see a single Chromebook in the wild.

    Similarly, Microsoft is folding Windows Phone into Windows 10 because Windows Phone is a complete failure.

    He’s damn right.

    Microsoft is right too.

    • Kievan Al-Hassan

      I find that amusing since I see Chromebooks all the time :)

      • Kevin Robinson

        Really? REALLY?

  • John Doe

    Adding Android to Chrome OS would be great, but you need to make sure that they both can live together properly. There are already touch-enabled Chromebooks available, so adding a layer to allow Android apps to run would be a great step forward!
    The one thing that Google does not want to do is kill all of the users (education sector) that already use the ChromeBook platform. Cost & simplicity is a huge reason schools around the world look to Google for digital education capabilities. The millions of Chromebooks that run Chrome for Education, etc cannot be overlooked when planning a rebuild of an OS! The School system just does not have the money to revamp its technology every 2yrs! Lets hope it’s not a total revamp, and more of a upgradeAdd-on.

  • Densmac

    The day I will be able to run full Adobe Premiere suit on Android OS, then I will drop windows on my laptop.

  • Alex

    Does this mean I have to develop for another screen size now? :(

  • s2weden2000

    that´s right!

  • Dudesrus

    Thought this would happen

  • Heritage80

    Microsoft it’s the best OS company, I have come to realise that in most aspects of OS evolution, Google and Apple are followers. By 2017, Windows 10 will be more solid. If by 2017, some types of x86 processors can go in phones, we will be happy users with pocket PCs, and Windows 10. I hope OS X and iOS follow the same route.

  • Diskus1

    Chrome OS is a PC OS, it won’t run well on a tablet with touch only or on a phone.

    So why is anyone surprised the Pixel C runs Android? It’s a tablet.