Alphabet’s Google to merge Chrome OS Android

“Alphabet Inc.’s Google plans to fold its Chrome operating system for personal computers into its Android mobile operating system, according to people familiar with the matter, a sign of the growing dominance of mobile computing,” Alistair Barr reports for The Wall Street Journal. “Google engineers have been working for roughly two years to combine the operating systems and have made progress recently, two of the people said. The company plans to unveil its new, single operating system in 2017, but expects to show off an early version next year, one of the people said.”

“Chrome powers personal computers, most often laptops, called Chromebooks. They are niche players, accounting for less than 3% of PCs according to research firm IDC,” Barr reports. “Chrome OS was Google’s effort to bring the Web and browser-centric experience to more devices, encouraging users to access all software and apps through its Chrome browser on cheap, stripped-down laptops. Android was an almost retro approach within the company because it focused on devices that only worked when software and apps were downloaded onto them… Chromebooks will get a new, as yet undetermined, name, the people familiar with the matter said.”

“Microsoft Corp. adopted a similar approach, creating versions of its Windows 10 operating system to power PCs and phones, allowing some apps to run on both devices,” Barr reports. “By contrast, Apple Inc. maintains distinct operating systems: iOS for smartphones and tablets, and OS X for Mac PCs. Chief Executive Tim Cook said last month that combining them ‘subtracts from both, and you don’t get the best experience from either.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Brilliant idea, Google! Proceed apace.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook

15 Comments

    1. I’ve heard for years that the original idea was to make a linux distribution for use internally and move google employees off of Windows.

      It kind of went from there.

    1. Perhaps. But the big problem out there is the thousands of variants of hardware and getting more so all the time. How do you write an operating system to run on all of those. Only the lowest common denominator would work. That would radically reduce the power of the OS.

      1. Yes and no. Love it or hate it, Windows is not a lowest common denominator OS due to it’s flexibility by using the driver model. It supports the universe of hardware.

        Android, being Linux based, uses a similar model. I don’t know, but I can envision a remote database of models so the OS can be downloaded. I can even envision remote compilation if needed. It’s not easy but it’s doable.

    2. applecynic, this is a fascinating subject. I personally cannot comprehend how Google has not isolated Android from all the various hardware drivers and added APIs, blahblahblah. It’s not impossible to keep Android identical on all these various devices and force the manufacturers to shim in everything else they require. Instead, it’s a patchity patch patch catastrophic mess on each individual device model, which is idiotic in this day and age. This baloney is the main cause of the tsunami of malware, hacks and exploits in the Android market. Google doesn’t seem to care, probably because they’re largely immune on their own hardware.

      The other main source of malware of course is Google’s NOT vetting anything submitted to their Google Play Store or any other Android store. Their yanking of reported malware out of existing devices is essentially useless seeing as infection levels into the MILLIONS of devices is common with Android malware.

      Meanwhile, as I often point out, Google has ‘Project Zero‘ and other projects directed at finding OTHER company’s security holes, which I find to be intensely hypocritical. (AKA ‘evil’).

  1. I see the merge with Android running in sandboxed spaces within the Chrome OS or sandboxed aside of iChromeOS in a VM directly on the HW.. Not a far stretch from how Android is working now. Extrapolating from Android 6.0’s new granular permissions that can be adjusted by the user I think there is a real shot to a workable merged system.

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