A few months ago, I was using a Toshiba Chromebook. While I mostly enjoyed the experience, the question that kept dancing around my head was: Why not just make this computer run on Android OS? But then again, I thought the name ‘Androidbook’ was not going to sound cool so I buried the thought. Another thing that bugged me was that Android devices were not compatible with it. Yes. I couldn’t access Android phones when I plugged them into the Chromebook’s USB ports.
Fast forward to yesterday when a report in the Wall Street Journal revealed that Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company, had “plans to fold its Chrome operating system for personal computers into its Android mobile operating system.” The reason for this? The growing dominance of the Android OS. The two operating systems will be merged into one and made available for desktops and laptops. This new version will give PC users access to the Play Store.
Android OS powers more than one billion phones all over the world, making it the most widely used operating system. Smartphones running the Android OS account for 85 percent of global smartphone distribution, which is a new market share record for a smartphone operating system. The merging project has been at least two years in the works. So this means I wasn’t the only one thinking of it (Please, who was I kidding?!).
However, the new OS will not be called Android. So, don’t expect to hear ‘Androidbook’. A new name will be announced alongside the new, unified operating system. Alphabet Inc’s plan is to demonstrate an early version at Google I/O next year. The OS is expected to be released sometime in 2017.
This development further highlights the thinning line between mobile phone and desktop OS technology. A development buttressed by Microsoft’s introduction of Windows OS on both PCs and mobile phones, giving users access to apps that can run on both devices.