Google Reportedly Moving to Merge Chrome OS Into Android

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2015-10-30 Print this article Print
Google, Android, Chrome OS, mobile operating system, Chromebooks, Sundar Pichai, Chrome browser

Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, agreed that the reported changes by Google have been fully expected by outsiders.

"Google set up an internal competition of sorts and the better platform survived," Moorhead told eWEEK in an email reply. "Ultimately, I think it will be a good move, but Google should have done it years ago when it was apparent Android had longer legs than Chrome OS and developers weren't that interested in Chrome OS platform."

Users and device makers will have to wait to see if it is a good move for them, said Moorhead, based on the reactions from software and hardware developers. "Neither Chrome OS nor Android has many desktop apps, and Android is perceived as a security threat and fragmented. I think the consolidation would increase the chances of more Chrome OS-Android 'Chromedroid' applications, but there need to be much more improved devices that are getting better, but still weak compared to full-up PCs."

What could benefit device makers from the consolidation, he said, would be the creation of more high-quality applications, which could open up new opportunities for device makers. "It should make it easier for current hardware makers of Chromebooks and Android devices to develop new devices as they will have one code base to support. Net-net, to be successful in this rumored venture, Google will need a robust ecosystem of apps for many form factors, quality, and price points."

Richard Windsor, an analyst with Edison Investment Research, told eWEEK in an email that the rumored merger of the two OSes makes a lot of sense for Google. "The real aim of bringing Chrome OS and Android closer together is likely to allow Google to increase the level of control that it has over the Android OS," he wrote.

Presently, Google's software ecosystem exists as a layer of software known as Google Mobile Services (GMS) that sits on top of the Android Open Source Package (AOSP), wrote Windsor. "GMS is proprietary to Google while AOSP is open source. AOSP controls significant aspects of the user experience and because it is open source, it is very fragmented. This has had a huge impact on the quality of the user experience on Android and deleteriously impacted the ease and fun of use of the Google ecosystem."

By merging Chrome OS and Android, Google would be able to "quietly take much greater control of Android by replacing open source elements of the AOSP with elements from Chrome OS which is not open," he wrote. "



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