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Google to combine Chrome OS with Android by 2017

by Brandon Russell | October 29, 2015October 29, 2015 4:00 pm PST

toshiba chromebook 3

ChromeOS as you know it today could look very different in a few years’ time. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Google is planning to fold the under-appreciated operating system into Android, which is a major leader in the mobile market. The big unveil will allegedly happen in 2017, with an early preview to come as early as next year. Google typically holds Android preview events during the spring, so we could see something at Google I/O.

Google’s engineers have reportedly been working on a unified OS for the past two years, and have made major progress this year. WSJ doesn’t indicate what parts of Chrome OS will survive the transition, but the report does say the new version of Android will run on PCs, giving users access to services and systems familiar to mobile users. Chrome OS, for all its quirkiness and charm, is still very much a niche product, which might be why Google is exploring ways to combine the two.

The move isn’t too dissimilar to what Microsoft is doing with Windows 10, which the Redmond company is doing to help usher in a unified OS.

“[Google] hopes to curry favor with independent developers, whose apps will work on more devices with fewer modifications,” WSJ said.

With Android becoming the dominant force in Google’s arsenal, Chromebooks will apparently be rebranded. I’d put my money on Pixel becoming Google’s preferred vernacular, especially now that the company is jumping into tablet territory under the Pixel umbrella. That’s just a guess on my part—no doubt the rumor mill will suss out Google’s plans.

Because Google has spent so much time creating two different operating systems, the search giant’s engineers are finding them difficult to combine, WSJ said. However, they do share a common ancestor in Linux, so the pieces are there. While the combination can help Google toward figuring out its Chrome OS problem, it also might help the company figure out tablets, too.

We should learn more next year.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...