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Android chief squashes rumors of Android merging with Chrome OS

Michael Simon | Dec. 14, 2016
Hiroshi Lockheimer says the two platforms will "cross-pollinate," but doesn't see them coming together.

If you were holding out hope that Android and Chrome would one day merge into some kind of super OS that marries the desktop and mobile worlds once and for all, Google’s senior vice president for Android, Chrome, and Chromecast Hiroshi Lockheimer has some bad news for you: It’s not happening.

Speaking on the All About Android podcast, the mobile chief threw a giant bucket of cold water on the idea that the two platforms would eventually converge, despite recent rumors that suggest such a project is already in development at Google. “There’s no point in merging them,” Lockheimer said, pointing out sales of that Chromebooks overtook Macs in the first quarter of this year. “They’re both successful.”

But that’s not to say the two platforms will stay entirely separate. You can already run Android apps on some Chromebooks (and more are on the way), and Lockheimer extolled the strategy of sharing features, saying Google’s aim is “to make sure that both sides benefit from each other. … You’ll see a lot more of that happening, where we’re cross-pollinating, but not a merge.”

The impact on you at home: We’re all waiting for that magical all-in-one device to arrive that lets us seamlessly bounce between apps and devices without skipping a beat, but forcing two distinct OSes together isn’t the right way to do it. Much like Apple has done with iOS and OS X, there are plenty of ways that Chrome and Android can integrate with each other to create a better experience on both sides. But Google is right to keep them separate. There may be a day when Google releases an OS that can scale to all of our devices and do it all, but it will likely be a ground-up rethinking, not a hybrid.

 

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