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Examining the possibility of an Android-only strategy across phones, tablets, laptops and desktops

If you've followed the story of Google's concurrent management of both Android and Chrome OS, you've likely wondered how (or even if) their paths may converge at some point in the future. A report out of the Wall Street Journal claims that convergence may be little more than a year away, and I think it makes a lot of sense.

While Chrome OS and Android operate in separate arenas on different types of devices, their interconnection and convergence has been signaled since Sundar Pichai took over management of both teams in 2013 before leaving that job to take the Google CEO role and appointing Hiroshi Lockheimer to take the combined duties.

The story has it that Chrome OS will "fold" into Android and the new-and-improved Android will run on a variety of devices, including traditional laptop and desktop hardware. Is it that crazy to think that it'd work? Let's discuss.

Chrome OS has limitations, and an uphill battle

ASUS Chromebook Flip

I really enjoy using Chrome OS. It's simple, requires far less processing power to operate smoothly — therefore running well on inexpensive hardware — and has tons of wonderful cloud-first ideas. But I, as anyone else who uses Chrome OS regularly, know that it isn't on the same level as other desktop-class operating systems.

The first Chromebook, the CR-48, was seeded to developers in 2010 and followed the next year by consumer-facing models. In the five years since the launch, Chrome OS has improved significantly in terms of features, design and polish. A modern Chromebook (or Chromebox, for that matter) is a very capable machine, but nobody can claim that it has the power or potential of the same exact type of device running Windows, OS X or a popular distro of Linux.

Chrome OS has shortcomings, and it's a long way off from being a capable multi-device platform.

The shortcomings of Chrome OS are even more apparent when you look at its prospects on a variety of different device types and sizes. While Chrome OS works fine on laptops between 11 and 15 inches, it's in no way suited to be a medium-to-large all-touch tablet OS nor is it really ready to take advantage of a large desktop-size screen. On the tablet end, Chrome OS doesn't have the interface for touch controls, and the full desktop-style web that it renders and relies on isn't completely ready for touch either. On a larger screen, Chrome OS doesn't give you anything more to work with. Though window management has improved, a Chrome OS machine doesn't have the system or tools required to be the "hub" for which you connect other devices to it — it's too busy trying to be an appliance.

In both small and large device classes, native applications are the real issue. Smaller devices really need purpose-built touch-first apps, not just the desktop web and a few of Google's own apps. On the other end, desktop computers with large screens need to have powerful applications that give you access to the extra screen room and hardware on the desk. Chrome OS doesn't have an app catalogue worth making any note of (for any device size), and the attempt to bring Android apps over to the platform isn't working.

Android isn't perfect, but it's closer than Chrome OS

Nexus 9

In the same way that Chrome OS has never really made sense for consumers on anything other than a laptop, Android hasn't exactly done well as an operating system for devices larger than phones. Android's explosive (and sustained) growth in the phone market hasn't turned it into a first choice in terms of a great tablet experience, despite plenty of trying. Google has been focusing on making Android a capable tablet OS since the launch of Android 3.0 Honeycomb in 2011, and while Android 6.0 Marshmallow is a fine tablet OS it's hardly the winner on large devices that Android traditionally has been on phones.

Five years of development on each platform, and Android is clearly further along.

The difference here? I think Android is better poised to scale up to other large computing devices than Chrome OS is to fix all of its issues. Though it has five years of development and supporting hardware revisions under its belt, Chrome OS still doesn't feel like a "finished" operating system. The interface changes considerably every handful of weeks with updates, basic features are still missing, and core portions of the OS, like the settings menu and file system, just don't feel like they'll ever be properly done.

How far has Android come in the same period of time? Pretty damn far — and you can't argue against the fact that Android is the more polished and complete of the two.

There's a thriving ecosystem of over one million apps for Android, and though a small subset are tablet-ready, the fact that the developers are already on Android is the biggest hurdle already jumped. Add to that the fact that Android is just far more capable as a base operating system — with a proper file system, notification hooks, centralized settings, app permissions, and so much more — and it offers so much more potential.

If Google were to take yet another look — and considerable engineering resources — at how to scale up Android to properly address the needs and requirements of running on tablets, laptops and even desktop-size computers, it has the potential to be far more powerful and capable than Chrome OS on the same types of hardware.

The Pixel C may lead the way

Google Pixel C

Today's story about Android consuming Chrome OS to make a single operating system sheds a bit more light on the recently-announced Pixel C tablet from Google. When it was unveiled it was a bit of a puzzle, taking on Google's in-house hardware Pixel name but running Android instead of Chrome OS — and promising updates every six weeks, more in line with Chromebooks than its Nexus devices.

It's a convertible device meant to be used like a laptop, and if Google really is working to bring Chrome OS inside of Android to expand its ambitions to non-phone hardware the Pixel C would surely be a nice development platform.

There are still huge steps ahead if Android is to expand and become a first-choice — or even just capable — operating system for a wider range of devices. But if it adopts some of the great ideas from Chrome OS while leveraging its huge base of active developers, it's poised to do something even bigger.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

119 Comments
  • Andrew, in your opinion, what aspects of Chrome OS are prime to be plucked and transfered to Android? Multiple tab multi tasking? Posted via the Android Central App
  • System-level integration with Google Drive, powerwash capabilities, great cross-device syncing — to name a few.
  • Soooo, what should I do with the brand new Asus Flip I just received Monday? Feeling like a bit of a chump. What is the likelihood it will be updated to the new Android software? Seems like these are types of questions Google should address quickly.
  • It's 2015. WSJ estimates the merge will come in 2017. Your +/-$300 Chromebook will be due for an upgrade in 2 years, there's no reason why you should worry about if it will receive an upgrade that far out. It WILL continue to receive support and some upgrades to its existing OS for a long period of time. Your phone from today won't get upgraded to Android O because it's hardware will be too out-of-date. The same applies to your Chromebook today. There's no reason for Asus (or any hardware manufacturer) or Google (or any software company) to waste resources trying to get old devices upgraded beyond 18-24 month from their release date (not your purchase date!) when a new device is so inexpensive in addition to providing improved specs.
  • The point I'm really making is it would be good business practice for Google to get out in front of this to allay concerns of consumers of their OS when they let slip that Chrome is going away. They could finish the thought. I would not have bought this last week had I known this would be a story today. If they say at the same time that current chrome OS could be updated, the purchase decision is different. This has also 4gb ram. Should run any Android OS in two years.
  • WSJ leaked a RUMOR about Google's development plan TODAY. Google isn't going to issue an immediate response, if at all. Doing so will share their future development plans with their competition and it will influence sales of existing and upcoming devices for years to come. The writing is on the wall that the two OSs will be merged, but Google, its staff, and its investors are given no benefit by showing their cards from such long-term plans that are certain to evolve between now and 2017.
  • Rumors affect business like anything else.
  • Does this make you feel better? https://twitter.com/lockheimer/status/659939015429255168
  • You've gone mental, friend. Just enjoy your Chromebook and don't worry about what MAY happen in two years...
  • Of couse i've gone mental. I have the audacity to share my opinion on a forum. :-)
  • Android OMG.... :O Posted via the Android Central App
  • Interesting, Windows OS has a 10 year support cycle, that's far longer than 18-24 months. Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Do you seriously think you'll be using your phone in 10 years? Chrome OS has minimum 5 year support cycle.
  • You feel like a chump because your Chromebook Flip may not be eligible for the Android/ChromeOS merged OS two years from now? You really think that Google will completely cut off support for ChromeOS on the day it merges the two OSs?
  • I would certainly hope not. But, would you honestly buy a chrome book today with this current uncertainty, rumors or not? That's what I'm saying.
  • No need to hope. Google have a published End of Life Policy for all Chrome OS devices. https://support.google.com/chrome/a/answer/6220366?hl=en You are good until July 2020.
  • That's like saying your not going to buy an iPhone 6 because you heard a rumor that the iPhone 7 will have a bigger battery!
  • It's nothing like that. If I buy a PC to publish documents and surf the web as I do now, and I can't get support for 2+ years, I'm going to be pissed. Phones are different because they take way more abuse. I would love my phone to last 2+ years but between dropping the thing, the sealed battery, short SSD storage life, digitizer life span and junk I install, it might get 3 years before the backlight goes out or screen cracks. A PC should last 10 years at least. Heck my first laptop still works and it's hitting its 10 year b-day in June. It has Windows Vista which is still supported. The battery is dead, but the AC adapter works great. Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • +1
  • Welcome to the same void Microsoft left its Surface RT/2 owners in. Don't expect many updates, or new features. Hopefully they'll continue to release fixes. All those schools who've jumped on the Chromebook wagon must feel pretty stupid now... (IT admins and users will have to learn a new system when Chrome OS is killed off/replaced)
  • I just want a desktop class browser experience Posted via the Android Central App
  • For $200-300, it's not a problem that Chrome OS is limited. It serves its purpose and does it well. This is an unnecessary merge.. Nothing beats it's value. Hassle free web browsing in attractive machine. That's all many people need. You need something more powerful, don't get one. Get a PC or Mac.. All this merge is going to do is raise the price so it can do more. It will require much more powerful hardware as well. Plus they're making so much headway in classrooms.. They're going to lose that battle if the price goes up.
  • Exactly.... Chromebooks and chrome OS are awesome for browsing, research, writing and media consumption.... useful and hassle free for most everyday tasks..... And in two years mine has never crashed, never slowed down.... And I still find more things to do with it pretty consistently ....I don't need android apps on it...I want it to remain fast friendly and stable. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I find myself using my Chromebook far more than my laptop. My wife and I share it. We both love it.
  • The problem is your last paragraph. Google don't want people to get a PC or Mac instead. They want people completely wrapped up in their ecosystem, not using Apple or Microsoft products. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Then they should build a better cloud.
  • But Google may be forgetting that many of the people who purchase Chrome OS devices did so because of the simplicity. My wife and I both went laptop shopping two years ago. I took a good long look at my massive 5 year old HP. It served me well when I needed my laptop to be my TV, DVD player, stereo, and photo/video editing machine. But for the last year of it's useful life, I was just using it for basic web browsing. It it sucked at it. Slow to boot, slow to operate. So my wife dropped $700 on a big Sony Vaio, and I spent $250 on a small Samsung Chromebook.
    Two years in, the Chromebook still runs like a champ. I can go from completely powered off, to being in a college seminar, in under one minute. Earlier this year, I ran into an unknown error and had to "powerwash" it. It took less than ten minutes. Ten minutes to fully back up, reset, and restore a laptop. It's a full web browser that's ready at a moment's notice, with great battery life and nearly zero maintenance. I don't want to play Minecraft on it, or run a business with it, or produce an album with it. I want it to be fast, and simple, and do basic tasks. If I may throw out an automobile analogy: Pickup trucks outsell hybrids. Pickup trucks can do more than hybrids. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to add a pickup truck bed to a Prius.
  • This makes sense. I don't see the usefulness of a Chromebook in my day to day... I need a PC with Powerpoint, Adobe Fireworks, lots of multitasking, editing a lot of files, documents, etc. I really love my Surface Pro 2, but I'm getting a Surface Pro 4 this year! I'm very excited for it. That's because it fits MY needs and MY usage. I see why Chromebooks are very popular among university students and more basic users... But it's no substitute for a good old PC with full blown windows on it! :D For my mother, for example, I'd get her a Chromebook. All she does is browse the web and email. Some VOIP with Skype. Can a Chromebook Skype? I don't even know... Haha.
  • Missing Skype is the only downside for Chrome OS. I can use Skype messaging from outlook.com, but not video or screen share. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If you have a Microsoft Office 360 account you can Skype in the browser. So eventually they'll release it as s browser option.
  • Although, I'm no fan of ChromeOS, I seriously considered it for my 6yr old daughter. I researched the Chromebooks and Chrome boxes because I thought the simplicity would be a good thing. Then, after a month, I decided the HP Stream 13 Windows laptop was the best for her because the Chrome OS devices could not display her school's homework/study sites correctly. Also "click to read" and other buttons didn't work properly on either Android or ChromeOS. So ChromeOS was a non-option for me in that situation.. On the plus side she's learning Windows and can even do simple things in MS Word. We use Skype often (or should I say she loves to bother me at work using Skype.. lol)
  • Damn you nailed it. Why is it always thought that the natural progression of tech has to be complexity, disguised with the terms "robust" and "powerful"? There is power in simplicity! Just out of curiosity, how is the Vaio running after 2 years and which laptop does your wife prefer to use? Whenever my non-technical buddies are asking for advice for a laptop, I always suggest Chromebooks. Then my other friends who work IT scoff that they run Intel celerons and can't run Windows programs. I tell them that 99.9% of what people run on a laptop can all be done on a Chromebook, and it can be done faster and more conveniently (as long as you have a Google Cloud Printer) Posted via the Android Central App
  • The Vaio is "ok".. It had a lot of boot issues that Windows 10 fixed. She needs her computer to have a 10-key (number pad), so a CB is not really a possibility for her yet. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's funny.... I find chrome OS so much more useful than android.... Android is great on phones.... That's it... Plus I wish my phone had the consistent and instant update schedule and process my Chromebook has.... The battery life my Chromebook has..... The five second boot up my Chromebook has..... The keyboard my Chromebook has..... The security my Chromebook has..... The full web pages my Chromebook has.... In fact since getting a Chromebook.... I don't even look at my phone when I get home at night.... And my tablet hasn't even been used in almost two years. I see no benefit in this at all for Chromebook users.... I see plenty of potential for destroying everything Chromebook users like about chrome OS however. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't think you're reading this rumour correctly. Chrome OS isn't being abolished, none of those features you listed are going anywhere My M8 posted this
  • Totally agree. Chromebooks are totally awesome with one exception. Lack of developers creating great apps, most Chrome apps and the Chrome App store look like the WIndows 8 store apps. A total mess. Android has a great app store. My Lollipop Moto X is awesome. ANdroid is dominant. Android has one achilles heel however. Updates. Too many barriers to getting updates out, Stagefright and Stagefright 2.0 affect billions of devices that may never see a fix. It's a security mess. Who wants that? Carrier and OEM's add cruft in the form of apps that can't be uninstalled (NFL Mobile is one). So here's the plan. Eliminate the Chrome OS apps and the Android update/security mess by combining the two. Great Android apps running on a fast efficient Chrome OS that gets updates directly from Google on Google certified hardware. Be the hardware a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. In a word, convergence. Current Android apps will look cruddy on a desktop OS, but that can change. Microsoft are leading the way with universal apps that will intelligently change their features and UI based on the screen dimensions and hardware available. Google find themselves following Microsoft for once. Who knew?
  • Chrome OS doesn't need apps nor does it really have many now. Any "app" is just a web short cut.. It's a cloud computer, if developers want to cater to it they have to handle the processing power of their site /app. Hence why Google should handle that responsibility remotely. A Chromebook is just a portal to the cloud.
  • Yeah, Chromebook 3rd party apps are slim pickings, but I want a budget machine that will get me online. I don't need apps that my phone and Windows PC already have, because my phone is always on me and my Windows machine has Games/apps that are too powerful and unfit for a small screen/touch device. I need a secure, simple way to get on the web which is exactly what the Chromebook offers. Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • I don't believe the article takes into account Chromebooks' appeal to schools and some businesses, who like the ability to easily manage what are, as of now, essentially dumb terminals. If I were a school who has deployed Chromebooks or is looking to deploy it, I think I'd be a bit worried how this will change once Chromebook is rolled into Android.
  • Actually it would be way, way easier for corporate since you'll just need the tools you use *today* to manage Android based devices.
  • Corporates and Android in the same sentence Posted via the Android Central App
  • Many corporations use Android as company phones. Galaxy S4/5.. I work for one of the largest companies in the world. They use both Android and iPhones for company phones (depending on positions)
  • Exactly. Ever hear of Stagefright? Now we have Stagefright 2.0. Android needs a security and update makeover. It's called Chrome OS :-)
  • Not 1 person was affected by it.. Android has close to no real security issues. It's the safest os on the market.. You cannot count hypothetical threats as real. Apple on the other hand had their cloud hacked, their app store infected, and minor device threats. Android had suffered 0 real threats. In order for Android to be compromised, you would have to sideload an infected app. Other than flashlight apps taking contacts for spam use, it's extremely safe.
  • That's BS.,the people who discovered Stage Fright and Stage Fright 2.0 clearly have proof and clearly demonstrated what both security vulnerabilities do to infect Android devices. Just because no one has been affected now, we just have to wait until someone is affected before Google and OEMs do something. As for your 'iCloud's been hacked and the App Store has been effected' comment the iCloud hack wasn't directly to do with iOS and the malicious apps that were on the App Store were only reported in China and there have been no reports of the malicious apps being downloaded outside of China. Android being the safest OS is joke of the year. I'd say iOS or even Windows Phone is safer than Android. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 6 with Marshmallow
  • I do think it's worth drawing the parallels to Windows. Microsoft was laughed at for sticking everything onto Windows 8, and while the execution (one UI for all devices) was flawed, the vision (one OS for all devices) makes a lot of sense, pending good execution. Whether you love or hate Windows, early progress suggests they're on to something with Windows 10. Just like Pixel was inspired (not a copy, but again, the parallels are there) by Surface, it's hard not to give Microsoft at least a little credit for driving some of this. In any case, regardless of the source, true windowed multitasking is overdue in Android. The tools are probably there (something like Facebook chat heads?), and it's absolutely essential for anything bigger than a Nexus 6P. Edit: probably worth mentioning that this only works if they keep everything useful about Chromebooks. Chromebooks need to have at least 95% of the current usability they have now, otherwise you end up with an Android version of Windows 8. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I shudder at the thought of Chromebooks being subject to the software update hell that plagues hardware manufacturer-controlled Android releases.
  • Or it could be just the opposite - Android devices updating like Chromebooks.
  • Except Chromebooks won't update on a mobile connection Posted via the Android Central App
  • My guess is that folks will want to update on WiFi anyway to live within their data plans. Android can and does update over WiFi which is most peoples preference anyway due to the large download.
  • The bad updates are major fault of the carriers. Not manufacturers.
  • Well if google wants to merge chrome os and Android then they better figure out updates very soon then. One of the best things about chrome os is that the user doesn't need to worry about updates and it's always upto date. Can't say that about android. Another thing is chrome os is great for schools etc so they better keep that simplicity too oh and Android better get proper split screen apps. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Nexus is always up to date.. But I still prefer Chrome OS to remain separate
  • Google is not going to enter another product category without first addressing updates. Android Wear is a good example of this.
  • Which is why Chrome OS will replace Android. They may call it Android because that's where the action is. But it will be Chrome OS with Play Store Apps. Nirvana!!
  • Enter: Remix OS by Jide Technologies, a dektop OS based on Android. http://www.jide.com/en/remixos
  • Dammit! Nobody had mentioned Remix when I started typing my comment! I was looking forward to being the first to mention it!!! You sneaky bastard! ;-) Yes, Remix, I don't know how well or poor the app support is in a desktop optimized context, but it does at least prove the concept of an Android desktop, does the desktop application itself very well, and perhaps most importantly, sets the precedent and example. I say if Google does anything even remotely like this, then we will be in VERY good shape, ESPECIALLY if they take it one step further and work in something akin to Windows' Continuum between desktop and traditional tablet interfaces. That would be EXTRA sweet! This is a very exciting development! Cheers!
  • Weeks that's actually looks really really nice. Having that on a Chromebook would be awesome Posted via the Android Central App
  • Here are three things that won't happen: - Apple's software will never reach any relevance in any segment of the market (which doesn't bother Apple since they just care for the hardware sales)
    - Windows Phone has no chance as a mobile OS;
    - Android will never go anywhere on laptops, PCs or productivity tablets. This, to me, is more than set in stone by now. I
    - f you want productivity on a PC/laptop/productivity tablet, you use Windows. Android has NO chance whatsoever of ever beating Windows on PCs and laptops/productivity tablets. That's why the Surfaces will beat the copycat Pixel C (and quite likely the iPad Pro) to the ground easily. - If you want the best mobile OS, you go with Android. It's basically what Windows should be on your phone but with the apps and the development Microsoft was too late to bring. - If you want to live in a separate World from the rest of humanity while ridding a petulance-horse, you just buy into the Apple ecosystem and willingly trap yourself there.
  • Agree. I Love desktop Windows 10, but i want my phone running Android. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ummm.....I'm not sure there's a single assertion in here that I can agree with. By this logic, Walmart will never beat K-Mart....oh wait!
  • Makes you wonder what MS could have done had they taken the iPhone more seriously and not suffered from typical MS arrogance. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The iPhone and iOS will remain relevant and strong competition to Android but it is possible than Apple can do a u turn and merge iOS into Mac OSX eventually as Apple isn't stupid they will adjust to the changing market accordingly. Posted via the Android Central App on my Nexus 6 with Marshmallow
  • Can Android be made to work well in a desktop context? I say we already have our answer - and it's a resounding YES! Two words: "Remix OS". I don't know how well (or how many) apps are currently optimized for the Remix desktop, but the desktop environment itself seems AWESOME! And with first party Google behind it, it will only go MUUUUCH further, much faster to catch apps up than JiDe, the relatively small, relatively unheard of 3rd party company behind Remix. But JiDe sets the precedent. It can be done. Heck, it HAS been done. Now all Google has to do is do something even remotely like it, and we're all set! The reason this all makes me so happy is I MUUUUUCH prefer 1st party Google Android over ANY AND ALL 3rd party Android, and if I could, I would go all in on Google and have NO involvement with 3rd party Android at all. However, there are a pair of really great 3rd party applications of Android for which Google has either no response at all, or at least no meaningful response. I'm thinking of the nVidia Shield set-top box and/or the Shield hand-held, one, and Remix OS, two. I AM WILLING to go 3rd party for these, but would a) MUCH, MUCH rather have these kinds of experiences first party, and b) would drop nVidia and JiDe faster than you can say eBay for a true Google answer ahould one Coke later. Yes, I know there is the Nexus TV, and yes I do still plan on getting one as a supplement to the nVidia (and as a more direct competitor/contrast to Apple TV)....but it's not even in the same league, so I don't see that as a Shield replacement, no. But this Android-subsiding-Chrome development opens the door for something from big G that would replace one of these two 3rd parties, bringing me closer to my goal of "regret-free-1st-party-all-in-ism". Then all that would be left to be toppled would be the mighty mighty Shield... ....bring it on, Google!!! Meanwhile, I have a Remix Mini on the slow boat from China to Des Moines, and anticipate getting hands-on with the seemingly outstanding 3rd party Android desktop precedent setter that Google would be VERY WISE to take a REALLY LONG, CLOSE LOOK AT! Cheers! :-)
  • Seriously Google, just buy Jide and finish this process, it's past time.
  • Dude...Please ease up on your grip of our ball sack- Google Posted via the Android Central App
  • This was a helpful, meaningful reply - Nobody
  • I haven't found a good reason for this other than to add to the Google coffers. Maybe in 5 years it will be different but right now it has nothing to offer. Good on them for trying though. I really think that they should go the other way. Run Android into Chrome and that way they can close most of the system off and allow for the kind of control Apple has with updates. +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • From a developer perspective, I keep a computer for the development tools. There isn't a way to develop Android apps on an Android device. Although I use my phone and Android tablet more, I never moved over to using a Chromebook. All my needs were either met through my Android devices or computer. I think moving to just one ecosystem has its benefits. It would be simpler for application consistency. There would just need to be done developer tools made to run on Android (which would be nice for testing and debugging) to move completely over to Android.
  • Emulator not good enough? I develop on the Windows box, test on a few android devices. Haven't hit a snag yet +++ Insert witty signature, watch as others not get it, profit +++
  • What will happen with existing chromebooks?
  • Chromebooks have a 5 year support life from Google. The very first CB ever released in Dec 2010, will go off update cycles this December. It'll still work, just never be updated after the end of this year. That's regardless of this announcement. Current ChromeBooks will be fine until EOL.
  • If it ends up looking anything like Remix OS, they really could have something. I love the simplicity of my Chromebook but it doesn't truly have the continuity that you get between an iPhone/iPad/Mac and soon a Windows Phone/ PC. Yes you're in the Google ecosystem, but outside of the larger Android ecosystem.
    Updates might not be too difficult either. I had the Marshmallow OTA update for the Nexus Player within a day or two of Google pushing it out. It's all the carrier BS that has my Nexus 6 still without an OTA.
    Kinda bummed my Chromebook might be a paperweight by 2017, but I spent $120 on an Acer 11 inch. Who knows if it'll still be working by then. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You will be fine, you already took advantage on your Chromebook, but now is different for new customers, I will not buy any Chromebook soon because the OS is not safe to have it... not ready for the future, with this announcement from google the Chrome OS is dying (even if they change their mind I will be not tempted to buy one)
  • Could they just have Android as the local operating system and keep everyone's favorite Chrome OS featuress in...wait for it...the browser! And have updates and security like Chrome OS, as is promised with the Pixel. Anyone else agree with me that this is the solution Google already has been planning? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Makes more sense that they showed the pixel c now, since there will be a ton of Googlers running around the Bay area using it. They just didn't show what they'd be running on it. Can't wait. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't get the argument that Android doesn't scale well to larger screens. I can change the desktop and app drawer grid to show more icons, the settings displays in two columns to better utilize space. I've heard "oh app such-and-such doesn't look good on a tablet" which isn't a knock against Android, it's a knock against the app. Can somebody enlighten me?
  • The aps don't look god enlarged because they aren't designed to. If aps are rewritten to run well at all screen resolutions then yes Android can scale to larger screens just fine as the hardware gets better and better.
  • Sorry, but although I like and use Android I don't want it on my Chromebook /Box.
  • Actually I don't know about Chrome. What I do know is that I've been using Dolphin Browser with the Android OS for several years now, and am convinced that a merger of these two would be the best of both worlds. Dolphin is incredibly more capable than the Chrome Browser has ever been. Google could do a lot worse than to meld the Android OS with the Dolphin Browser as a fully transparent operating system for the future. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually we are talking about Chrome OS, not just the Chrome browser. But yeah Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well this is depressing. The ease, speed and security of Chromebooks is unmatched, why would anyone purposefully abandon these in favour of lower security and greater complexity. Andrew - as a happy Acer c720p owner I have a slightly different take on the usefulness of of touchscreen. In a world of device convergence where tablets, laptops, phones are all becoming the same thing (an argument for convergence maybe), touchscreens are conspicuous by their absence on laptops. This is less to do with use case per se and more to do with standardised expectation. My children find the touchscreen on our Chromebook 'normal' and instinctively touch other laptop screens and are surprised when they do nothing.
  • Chromebooks are fantastic and Google should never alter them. It is one of the products they ever put out.
  • I already regard/use my mobile as more PC than phone, its the future, especially for Google given the sheer scale and size of android.... where's the money.... .. Android Posted via the Android Central App
  • Typo alert: The Pixel C will receive updates every six weeks like a Chromebook and not two weeks.
  • I have been waiting for something like a Pixel C, the 10" Dell with keyboard - or something a bit like that, for ages now. I'm still using my drastically limited Asus Transformer quite often, because it has a good keyboard. Unfortunatly Android and Chrome OS are still a bit too limiting at the moment - Is Google willing to (or even interested in) producing a really effective productivity platform that isn't profoundly cloud dependent? Why would Google put the money and effort in to make this a really effective alternatinve to Mac OS, Windows or even Linux? Posted by a Ludite who wants a better future.
  • Can any Linux app be installed on Chrome OS ?
    Can you, for example, install Android-Studio ?
  • You have to install Linux on the Chromebook first.
  • Too bad. But it's based on Linux no?
  • If you have kids, that coffee table has to be full of cheerios down between the logs.
  • I'd rather android become part of chrome os honestly. I use chrome os on my chromebox everyday and prefer it to my phone or tablet nearly every time, but I just wish I had some of the games and minor things from android built in to chrome os to complete it. I'd be pretty disappointed of chrome is just disappeared.... Posted via the Android Central App
  • There is games.. I play sonic the hedgehog, street fighter, and other Genesis games on the Chromebook. It just just sucks using keys for certain games (like PC gaming).
  • I hope that when integrated, Google has similar update controls in place with Android as they do with Chrome OS. If that works out it'll be perfect. It would all but end fragmentation. Which, really isn't a big deal, but sure is thrown around a lot. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "But, again, this isn't a Chromebook. It's a full-fledged Android tablet. So you'll be running Android apps, and browsing with Android browsers — and that's still an experience that's not as good as what you'll find on a Chromebook." That's from the review of pixel c just one month ago. I have serious questions about this merge, and I hope they get addressed. Probably where it all needs to begin is there needs to be the capability to have the full version of Chrome web browser. Without that, I wouldn't be interested in owning an Androidbook, and would most likely look into going back to PC (Surface). Tab casting, Mighty Text, Push Bullet, full version of Drive, full version of Gmail, and more would all be lost otherwise. They seemed to miss their niche here. It fit well into where it should've been... any more and you might as well fully go PC, any less and you might as well go tablet/PC combo. Heh.
  • The Pixel C hasn't been released yet, how can that review be objective? Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's a review... they had the device... it's no more or less objective than any other review done while using a product.
  • Like I said before, they showed off the pixel c because people are going to start seeing a lot of Google employees using it in the very near future if not already. They just didn't show the new OS that they would be testing/using on it. This is very exciting. The potential for an awesome new OS that combines the best of both chrome OS and Android is what a lot of ppl have been asking for since they both started, or at least since they both started to come into their own. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wouid love to live in a google only world but I find that the google office apps are missing some crucial features required for professional documents- most notably is their lack of section breaks .
  • To compete at Enterprise level, Google needs to do this ASAP. Bring one OS that has best of both worlds (mobile and desktop)
  • That will never, ever happen.
  • Dude, history is full of "that will never, ever happen"s that happened. That's not to say it definitely WILL happen, but don't be so damned cocksure. I haven't received my Remix mini yet, so I don't know what kind of app optimization there has been yet for a keyboard and mouse, or if there will be full desktop versions of certain key apps....but Remix OS is at least proving the concept of a Desktop Android so soundly, that if Google's approach even vaguely resembles it, then we'll be in pretty darn good shape and the "it'll never happens" of the world, like you, will have to scramble to find good recipes with crow.
  • This change was driven by Alphabet. Before, Google was able to hide how much they were losing on ChromeOS, which by the way IS NOT a Project X type moonshot but an actual product that has been commercially available for 5 years. Now that Google is going to be forced to give detailed financial reports on ChromeOS, it would have been obvious how big a white elephant ChromeOS is, and how ChromeOS has absolutely no chance of changing its fortunes. The problem with ChromeOS: the average person isn't tech-savvy enough to make web-based and cloud-based computing their primary driver, and Google provided their customers ABSOLUTELY NO HELP in getting them there. So for most people, a Chromebook was going to be by necessity a secondary computing device, or a computer for people who aren't into technology. Except that smartphones and tablets (especially iPads) already serve that purpose and do it better. Even if your response is "Chromebooks are cheap" ... an iPad Mini is $250 and a good Android phone can be had for even less off contract (as can a decent 10' Android tablet with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse). In the consumer market, being good tech - which ChromeOS certainly qualifies - is not good enough. It has to fill a need (or want) or solve a problem and do it as good as or better than the alternatives. ChromeOS fails to do so and Google knew it. That is why Google refused to put tablet or enterprise features in Android: if they gave Android multiple windows, full-screen apps, productivity features, better cloud and web integration etc. people would have quickly asked "why do we need ChromeOS again"? Best example: Android TV. Google could have given us an Android TV stick comparable to the Roku or Amazon Fire Sticks for $45 (think 1 GB RAM, dual band Wi-Fi, bluetooth, only enough internal storage for the OS plus mandatory apps including Google Play and Google Cast, USB 3.0 port for external storage, peripherals and Gigabit ethernet). But they didn't because if they did no one would ever buy another Chromecast. So, they gave us a totally unnecessary Chromecast refresh instead. (You can make the case that Chromecast should have never existed in the first place ... that it should have been an Android TV dongle from the beginning.) And I agree that Chromecast Audio is nice, but come on: an audio streamer should have been the debut commercial device for Android Brillo. Thinking about how Google purposefully held back Android to justify the existence of Chromecast (they didn't even put a full Chrome browser on Android because that would have meant access to the Chrome Web Store) and you realize how Google has given its customers the short shrift. Not just customers but OEMs. Samsung, LG, Asus, Dell and the rest were forced to market tablets with a hobbled OS that Google withheld tablet features from on purpose. Best example: Samsung's attempt to compete with the iPad in the enterprise with Samsung Galaxy Pro. Now the hardware for the Galaxy Pro was top of the line. (Except no 64 bit SOC. No, 64 bit was only available on ChromeOS at the time!) But with no productivity apps, no support for a large screen or for peripherals like a stylus, keyboard or mouse/trackpad built into the OS and no multitasking ... it had no chance even after Samsung loaded as much of what was missing as they could into TouchWiz, and Samsung lost a bundle on that device. I don't feel as sorry for them as I do for the folks who spent $750 on the thing thinking that they were getting a real productivity device but found themselves with an oversized phone due to lack of OS support, apps or guidance from a Google who would have preferred that Samsung make and market Chromebooks to compete with iPads in the enterprise instead of tablets. Honestly, the whole thing stinks. iOS 9 and iOS 10 and the devices that power them are going to contain productivity/power user features that would have been in Android long ago had it not been for the need to prop up ChromeOS. Tablets are already well into their sales death spiral, and iPads are already entrenched in the enterprise, with the iPad Pro going to make it even more so. Merging Chrome into Android and then coming out with a flurry of devices aimed at power and enterprise users may be too little or too late. This is what you get when you maintain two limited operating systems with bad/limited productivity apps instead of trying to produce one GOOD operating system that has all it needs. At least they are pulling the plug on this thing now, before ridiculous ideas like the Chromebit (announced but shelved after poor Asus sunk a bunch of R&D into it) came to the market. (Chromebits instead of Android TV sticks, great idea Google!) Unfortunately, it was too late to prevent "Chromebox For Meetings" videoconferencing equipment! https://www.google.com/work/chrome/devices/for-meetings/ Now that would have been a GREAT DEVICE had it been on Android. And ironically, the one application that MAY have been better suited for Chrome - wearables - went to Android instead. This is not to say that Google shouldn't try to offer a desktop/productivity operating system, or even one that tries to get more people into cloud computing. I actually think that Google buying Canonical would be a great idea. So would basing a desktop or even server OS on the same Linux kernel that Android is on (a very easy way to support Google Play services and apps for instance). Note that Xiaomi is coming out with a Linux laptop next year http://www.androidheadlines.com/2015/10/xiaomis-upcoming-laptop-might-sh... and Huawei may also. But if Google does so, they need to either make an offering that is competitive with what Microsoft and Apple already have or identify an actual user or market need that has to be solved. Oh yes, make it user friendly with a good user experience. That's the thing: as much as we bash Apple and Microsoft, the truth is that there is a lot that Google can learn from both.
  • You have some interesting points, but you clearly have never really used Chrome OS on a regular basis. This comment " Except that smartphones and tablets (especially iPads) already serve that purpose and do it better. Even if your response is "Chromebooks are cheap" ... an iPad Mini is $250 and a good Android phone can be had for even less off contract (as can a decent 10' Android tablet with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse)." Chromebooks literally destroy iPads and android tablets plus keyboards for productivity. You have true multitasking,, a real desktop browser and a good keyboard. Anybody who uses one on a regular basis comes to this conclusion.
  • My daughter uses a Chromebook for school (all the kids do) and they hate them.
    They'd rather have a iPad or real laptop.
  • That's because, kids don't want to surf the web on a restricted proxy server or write term papers, they want popular branded devices with popular apps, games, and services. Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Too long to read. I stopped at iPad are better than Chromebooks. You clearly have no idea what you're talking about so no sense in reading the rest. You're make blanket assumptions based on your opinion. Any user would not compare the two. Also, the Chromebook is far easier and more efficient than any iPad. People realized tablets are essentially useless and pointless. Hence the sharp drop in sales across the board.
  • Oh my, I bet you have never used Chrome OS or a Samsung tab pro; funny how you didn't mention the Microsoft Surface Pro. But seriously, the Samsung Pro has Bluetooth keyboard and mouse support, access to plenty of apps for whatever, including browsers that can do way more than the iPad. How you can compare Apples mobile OS on an iPad to a Chromebook makes no sense. It's like comparing a couch in your house to a seat in a roller coaster. You can sit on both of them but they're used for entirely different things. I do think you're on to something with Googles strategy for Android, but the rest is just a bunch of hot air. Also, let's not forget how Apple is doing virtually the same thing Google is with its PC and mobile OS, only Apple refuses to include touchscreens on their PC's or merge the two systems together. They'd rather rebrand their faltering iPad as a PC without PC power. Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Mmmmm, I'm not sure I like the idea of Google buying Canonical - not because of what that could do for Google, but because of what that WOULD do to Ubuntu, and that whole scene. I think Canonical / Ubuntu fills a very valuable niche in the market, a sort of underground society as it were, the epitome of free computing, customizabity and freedom, and an increasingly viable all-in computing solution to boot. Between trying to follow Apple, Android and Windows actively, I don't think I could afford (time or money) to take on yet a 4th platform to support. And even if I could, I'd probably just treat 1st and 3rd party Android as separate things, and make 3rd party my 4th platform rather than the 1st-party-favoring-1st-party-dominant-mix-of-1st-and-3rd I'm pursuing now. If I were gonna really pursue Ubuntu (or another comparable Linux distro) it'd be my 5th platform then, and to quote Monty Python, "five is right out!" But even if I'm not really actively involved in the Ubuntu scene personally, I still wholeheartedly support and applaud it, and I don't want to see big business muck it all up, and even a company like Google would totally corporatize it and ruin it. Now, to what Google should do in this initiative: to me, the most compelling approach would be for Google to take a page from JiDe and their apparently outstanding Remix OS and go it one better with better keyboard and mouse support for touch based apps and maybe some full desktop apps. Maybe they could even take a page from Microsoft and enable it to morph between a conventional Android tablet and a Remix style desktop a la Windows Continuum, or heck, even possibly find some way to work a Chrome morph into it to, which would be TOTALLY AWESOME, though I'm not entirely sure just how that would look, or work in practice. But whatever they do, they NEED to have a compelling, cohesive and comprehensive ecosystem-wide strategy that ties everything together in a way that really works, and is comprehensible and attractive to consumers. At this point I almost even don't care what that looks like so long as it works. You've got Apple's MacOX and iOS hard line in the sand strategy that surprisingly works quite well though it really shouldn't, and you've got Windows 10's "one Windows" Continuum, universal apps, and all that, which is like the absolute antithesis to Apple's approach, and while it does suffer from a lot of redundant code "fat" that way where Apple's strategy keeps all its devices very lean, and while it has yet to really take off, I don't think there is a single more compelling vision and interesting strategy in the entire industry than what MS has right now. These are the two polar extremes. From what I hear, it seems like Canonical's approach looks more like MS than Apple, and up until this announcement, it was looking and sounding like Google was trying (however haphazardly and aimlessly) to do something more akin to Apple. However, this announcement seems to pooch that notion, doesn't it? In any case, my point is that I don't care so much whether Google's tact looks more like Windows or Apple (or somewhere in between, or heck, even some completely different and novel third option), they just need to get their ecosystem together. And yes, Apple, and even Windows is way ahead of them in this regard. JiDe's approach seems exhilaratingly promising, and as one who generally much prefers first party Google "pure" Android over the various 3rd party iterations, I REALLY hope they give it a good close look! Cheers!
  • After reading comments. I realize the bulk of the people in here have no idea how anything works. This gist of this entire site is, 5% know what's going on and spend their time explaining it to the other 95%.. And the 95% argue back.
  • This is true. Posted via the Android Central App
  • We have all forgotten what Sundar Pichai said about it happening "organically" and not pushing it. It's pretty obvious to me that it already is happening organically. Posted via the Android Central App
  • As long as this new invention stays clean, fast and includes a full Chrome web browser, not the mobile or tablet one, I'll be buying into it. Especially, if it offers the Full version of MS Office as a buyable app(s). Posted via the Android Central App on the Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
  • Jide buyout anyone? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not being the geek some others are here, if we use the comparison of Win 10 which is supported by both computer and mobile devices, it's far more mature yet massive as compared to Android. I am a bit behind in that I don't have a Win 10 PC as yet, but there seems to be a vast difference in functionality with Android and Windows. Apple maintains two OS systems though I suspect that is due to change as well. I don't think the Pixel holds a candle to the new Surface devices either in all ways imaginable. Played with one the other day and it blew my mind how fast, diverse and premium it felt!
  • So, Microsoft came around first, now Google. I wonder if Apple is going to get the message that one OS on all devices is the way to go.
  • Apple will do it after android and call it all new, magical and revolutionary! We did this first.
  • Chormebook people....calm down. Your devices will still work as is. I am a windows 10/m user. I can tell you the "merger" is the way to go. I am running a surface 3 and lumia 1020 both on w10. And once w10m is official, and the app store grows, it will be a great system. I see the same for the android/chrome combination. The whole ecosystem will thrive more. The googlesphere will be more stable, smooth etc with one os for everything.
  • It's not true:
    From Google: Several stories in the press are speculating that we’re “folding the Chrome operating system into Android”. This is not true: Chrome OS is not going away. In fact, we are continuing to invest heavily in Chrome OS. We’ve seen amazing momentum with Chromebooks, for example, which are the number one educational device for schools in the US and have topped Amazon’s bestselling laptops list for the past two holiday seasons. The Google team is currently working to correct these inaccurate stories.
    We want to give users a great experience across mobile and desktop, and will always look for ways to improve things. The Android and Chrome OS teams have been part of the same organization for over a year, and continue to collaborate on features that build on the best of both platforms (like smart unlock, which allows people to unlock a Chromebook with their Android device, or App Runtime for Chrome, which enables Android apps to run on Chrome OS).
  • It's patently obvious this is false. The chrome browser is more powerful than Android, and Google isn't going to run a gimped version of their browser in a desktop setting. The only thing android can do that Chrome can't is run "apps" which are, for the most part, just gimped out versions of websites anyway. If and when Android can run a full version of Chrome I'm sure they'll consider it. But that will almost certainly never happen. Posted via the Android Central App