Earlier this week, reports suggested that Google planned on merging Android and Chrome OS.
Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system built around Google apps. Although the initial Chrome OS laptops—known as Chromebooks—targeted the ultra-cheap and modestly-powered segment of the PC market, Google has released some premium devices in recent years, most notably the Chromebook Pixel.
For developers, any OS merger would prove a very big deal. Although Android dominates on smartphones and tablets, it has yet to make inroads into PCs (some odd exceptions aside). Google’s Chrome OS, despite banging a noticeable dent in the laptop market, has yet to threaten the market-share dominance of Microsoft’s Windows in an existential way. Making Android a laptop-supported operating system, however, could change the game considerably; for example, imagine leveraging Android’s massive app ecosystem on PCs.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the combined operating system is on track for a 2017 release. But Google is pushing back against those reports, claiming it remains “committed” to Chrome OS, according to The Verge. Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Android and Chrome OS, reinforced that position by Tweeting: “There’s a ton of momentum for Chromebooks.”
But sticking with Chromebooks doesn’t prevent Google (and its hardware partners) from also building laptops that run Android. If that scenario comes to pass, it could open up lots of opportunities for Android developers who want to port their apps to PCs.