Google typically doesn’t address big rumors about its future, but it appears this one was too big to stay silent. In a blog post on Monday, the search giant’s Hiroshi Lockheimer said Chrome OS will not be phased out. The statement comes on the heels of a report from last week that claimed Google would be folding Chrome OS into Android by 2017.
Now, this doesn’t mean some Chrome features and functionality won’t make their way to Android, which is something that could happen as early as next year. Lockheimer actually admits Google is working on ways to bring the two together, which lends some credence to the report from last week. We could simply see a more powerful version of Android next year, with some of Chrome OS’s best features carried over to the mobile OS.
Chromebooks have remained a niche product in the world of computers, but they’re incredibly popular in education, with some 30,000 new Chromebooks activated every school day in the U.S., according to Google. That’s a pretty healthy jumping off point for Google as it works toward making Chrome OS a more powerful alternative to OS X and Windows 10. As such, Lockheimer said Google has plans to introduce some big updates to the software in the coming months.
“We have plans to release even more features for Chrome OS, such as a new media player, a visual refresh based on Material Design, improved performance, and of course, a continued focus on security,” said Lockheimer.
The culmination of a Chrome OS-inspired Android might not be available until 2017, though we could get an early glimpse of what the changes will look like sometime next year.
“Stay on the lookout for dozens of new Chromebooks in 2016,” Lockheimer said.