Why Google won’t merge Chrome OS & Android

March 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

No merging of Chrome OS and Android? Apparent stupidity could actually disguise a cunning plan…


One Ring to rule them all
One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them
-Lord of the Rings

Contrary to rumour, Sauron may not sit on the Google board of directors (”Don’t Be Evil”), but the dark lord certainly had a mission statement that appears to make more sense than the search giant’s plans for its Android and Chrome OSes…

With or Without You
According to Google chairman Eric Schmidt yesterday, Android and Chrome OS are “certainly going to remain separate for a very long time, because they solve different problems.” His statement surprised many coming just days after Android head Andy Rubin stepped aside to be replaced by Sundar Pichai, vice president of Chrome and apps development. Pichai’s new title: ‘Senior vice president for Android, Chrome and Google Apps’.


Interestingly Schmidt did tell Reuters he expected more overlap between Chrome OS and Android, but unless we assume he was being entirely disingenuous it seems the two platforms’ Mulder and Scully chemistry will remain on the back burner.

When Two Become One
Which seems stupid. Over two years ago I asked What Is Google Doing With Chrome OS? and the same question could be pitched today. As it stands Chrome OS now looks rather like Windows 7, remains desperately short of killer applications and – most bafflingly – is suddenly being pushed as a touchscreen platform on the new Chromebook Pixel (below) despite no touch optimisation in its user interface whatsoever. What would make sense on the Pixel? Android.

Android and its myriad online and offline apps and Chrome browser (still essentially all that Chrome OS is) now supports ultra-high resolution displays like the 2,560 x 1,600 and 2,560 x 1,700 pixels found in the Google Nexus 10 and Pixel respectively.


Android does everything Chrome OS can do and much more, is infinitely scalable, holds a 70 per cent share of the global smartphone market and intelligence firm IDC expects it to overtake the iPad as the largest tablet platform this year. Having previously stitched its Android smartphone and tablet operating systems back together in version 4.0 and in continuing to complain about the damage done to Android by fragmentation, it would seem one more simple nip and tuck from Google to fold in Chrome OS would make a great deal of sense. And that was before it brought the platforms together under the same development head.

Furthermore it is a thinly veiled secret that {http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/windows-phone-next-release-set-for-holiday-2013 Windows Blue} is Microsoft’s next major step in merging its Windows and Windows Phone platforms, and Apple continues to take baby steps toward doing the same with Mac OS and iOS.

For these companies the mergers are a major headache, the most difficult and arguably most crucial move either will make in the next decade. Google could merge the best bits of Chrome OS (multiple window support, optional desktop UI) with Android in a heartbeat and jump years ahead of its rivals… but it won’t.

One Is the Loneliest Number
Then again what if Google is right, because it just might be. This is a sample, to read about why Chrome OS and Android may well be best off coexisting click here for the full editorial @ TrustedReviews

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