Chrome OS rumored to be folded into Android as early as 2017

Android statue
Android statue (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Google is apparently planning to fold Chrome OS and Android into one operating system. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has been working on such a project for a couple of years now, with plans to pull the trigger sometime in 2017:

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.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.

According to the report, this combined version of Chrome OS and Android will apparently also run on PCs, allowing Google to expand Google Play and its other properties even further. However, it's unclear if the report is referring to PCs that currently run Windows or OS X, or desktops and laptops currently running Chrome OS. As for Chromebooks, the report says they will receive a new, as of yet undetermined name. The Chrome browser will also retain its name as well.

More: Considering the possibility of an Android-only device future

Going by the timeline in the report, it sounds as if Google CEO Sundar Pichai may have started the initiative after adding Android to his management responsibilities in 2013. For some background, Pichai joined Google in 2004, leading the development of the Chrome browser and Chrome OS (first released in 2008 and 2009, respectively). In March 2013 he added Android to his management responsibilities, taking over for Android founder Andy Rubin. Just two months ago he took over as CEO of Google, following the creation of Alphabet.

Update: Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer has sent a tweet that Google is still very committed to Chrome OS.

There's a ton of momentum for Chromebooks and we are very committed to Chrome OS. I just bought two for my kids for schoolwork!

Google has confirmed to The Verge that Chrome OS is not completely dying, but did not comment on how it may be changing.

Source: Wall Street Journal

Dan Thorp-Lancaster