Why It's Doubtful That Google Would Merge Chrome OS and Android

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 02, 2015

While it didn't draw a lot of attention, The Wall Street Journal posted a story a few days ago that has the potential to create much controversy about Google's stance toward Chrome OS. The story, found here, reported that Google plans to unveil a unified, new operating system combining Android and Chrome OS in 2017 and that engineers have been working on melding the two platforms for two years.

This, of course, is an old rumor.  However, there are good reasons to believe that it isn't true. Here is why.

Ever since Google introduced the two operating systems several years ago, people have wondered which of the two might eventually become dominant and which would fade away. That debate is back in the news via the Wall Street Journal's report, which casts doubt on the future of Chrome OS as a standalone entity.

Our bet, though, is that Chrome OS isn't going anywhere. The Chrome browser has become the number two browser, ahead of Firefox, and Google's overall Chrome and Chrome OS strategies remain important.

Apple is enormously successful with its Mac OS, but Mac OS is not iOS. Likewise, Microsoft's Windows is not the same as Microsoft's mobile platform. We are moving into a world where mobile technology usage is so ubiquitous and important that mobile operating systems have to be dedicated to serving lean, efficient apps designed for smartphones, tablets and other new mobile devices. Chrome OS functions best as a computer-based platform at this point. Android is optimized for phones and tablets.

A lot of people fail to realize how quickly Android has become a major platform. Back in 2009, Android was on one phone, and it wasn't clear whether it would survive. Now it's an entrenched platform that many phone and tablet manufacturers have a stake in. Google won't haphazardly dive into a development mish-mash of Android and Chrome OS and doesn't really have any reason to.

Chromebooks are succeeding, especially in niche markets like education, and Chrome OS is succeeding with them. The Chrome browser is a success. Android is a dominant mobile OS. These are different platforms, though, and Google doesn't have to turn them into a cocktail.