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Will Google Merge Android And Chrome Operating Systems?

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

If the recent moves by Google are any indication, the internet giant is about to streamline its OS offerings and merge Android and Chrome into a single Operating System. While there is no official confirmation from Google about such a move, several tech websites and analysts have reported that the merger is inevitable and may happen soon. If Google decides to go ahead with the initiative, it would be following the footsteps of companies like Microsoft that already offer a single OS for multiple types of devices.

There are several reasons to believe that Chrome may not continue as a standalone product. While Android has managed to capture a lion’s share of the mobile market, the penetration of Chromebook laptops using the Chrome OS remains quite low (about 2% of the overall PC market). And since the latest version of Android (Lollipop) is capable of running not only on Smartphones and tablets but also on home/car appliances and wearable devices, it may not be that farfetched to think that Google is planning to migrate to a single Operating System that is capable of running on multiple platforms.

Google has also made some changes in its organizational hierarchy that point to the possibility of the merger of these two operating systems. Google’s vice president of Engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer, who oversees the development work of the Android platform has now taken the additional responsibility of the Chrome division.

If Google goes ahead with the merger, it will make the life of software developers considerably easier. As things stand now, they have to create two separate versions of the same app for Android and Chrome but once these two operating systems are merged, they need to roll out just one version of the software that would work on all types of devices. And since Google has already announced the compatibility of Android apps for the Chrome OS and unveiled tools that support app development on both the platforms, Chromebook users can look forward to using millions of apps that are currently available in Google Play store. The move is set to boost the sales of Chromebooks since the lack of working apps is one of the reasons why many people have not yet migrated to the platform.

Google’s move of merging Android and Chrome may also be related to its decision of terminating the Android Silver program. According to several reliable news sources, Google has decided to stop the development of Android Silver program due to a lack of interest from the Smartphone makers. It may be recalled that the goal of the program was to offer a line of devices running on a pure version of Android. While the program would have simplified the app development process and standardized the product offerings from multiple companies, it would have hurt the brand image of the Smartphone makers significantly. Also, it is a well-known fact that many Smartphone companies including Samsung and HTC have invested a considerable amount of money and resources into customizing Android for their handsets so it was naive on the part of Google to expect that these companies would support the Android Silver initiative.

January 24, 2015

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