All of a sudden, we’re hearing quite a bit of talk about Google’s in-development Andromeda operating system, which is said to be an Android / Chrome OS hybrid. Now, two separate sources have come forward to declare that Google is planning to release a laptop running the new OS sometime in Q3 2017.
According to the report, the new Google laptop is known internally as ‘Bison’ and has been given the informal ‘Pixel 3’ nickname. The laptop will apparently be the first device to showcase Google’s Andromeda operating system in a laptop form factor. Andromeda is Google’s new operating system that integrates Chrome OS into Android, rather than the other way around as is the case with ARC for Chromebooks. Even so, this development might explain why Google doesn’t appear to have any plans to release a new Chromebook Pixel this year.
While clearly very early days and likely subject to change, the Bison is said to sport a 12.3-inch display which features a touch-screen so that the laptop can work in tablet mode. The laptop may also be powered by either an Intel m3 or i5 Core processor, 8 or 16GB of RAM, and come in 32 or 128GB internal storage options.
Bison’s extras are said to include two USB Type-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a selection of senors, stereo speakers, built-in microphones, and a battery boasting 10 hours of use time. All of this will fit into an ulta-thin package that measures less than 10mm thick. This laptop won’t come cheap like today’s Chromebooks though, the retail price is expected to start at $799, with a Wacom stylus available to purchase separately.
If true, these specifications and price point suggest that Andromeda powered products will be Google’s answer to higher end products from Apple and Microsoft. It finally looks like Google is ready to make a move into the main laptop and 2-in-1 markets, and the project looks set to go far beyond the company’s current efforts to bring Android apps to Chromebooks. It’s quite likely that Google would decide to drop the Chromebook branding from Bison, instead starting up a new range for Andromeda.
Speaking of which, it isn’t clear what Andromeda means for Chrome OS, or Android for that matter, but it’s likely that all of these ecosystems will coexist, at least in the medium term. While the extra Android features packed into Andromeda might make Chromebooks seem obsolete, there’s still a market for low cost laptops, particularly in the education sector, that Andromeda might not cater for.
Either way, Andromeda is shaping up to be Google’s big new idea for the laptop, 2-in-1, and tablet markets, which could usher in a new exciting era for high-end computing. Unfortunately, Bison’s debut looks to be a long way away, but we may hear something about Google’s plans for Andromeda at the event scheduled for October 4th.