As soon as Andy Rubin stepped down from Android, and the head of Chrome stepped up to take his place while maintaining lordship of his former OS, rumors have flown wildly that the two operating systems may merge. Not so, says Eric Schmidt. Speaking at a Big Tent event in India, the former CEO, current Chairman says that the two will remain separate products, though they may have more "commonality" between them.

The announcement doesn't come as that big of a surprise. While the two platforms may serve a similar purpose for the moment, the underlying systems aren't exactly interchangeable. Android apps are built on Java, for example, while Chrome apps are a mixture of web-based tech like HTML5 and CSS3, plus a dash of Google's Native Client (NaCl) code. To say nothing of the vast difference in UI (the one is modular while the other is windowed). These are all very major problems that the company would need to overcome in order to combine the two.

However, Google has always been about the services, while it's only recently begun making OSes. The larger issue is that Chrome OS needs to be perfectly in sync with all of Google's online offerings and that may be where we see more development. Also, hopefully, we'll see the Mountain View invest more heavily in developer tools. The Chrome Web Store, for example, languishes while the Play Store looks better and better every month.

How this all manifests itself is something that remains to be seen. What we can know for sure, though, is that Google isn't about to let Chrome OS stagnate. The laptop operating system is the company's big bet and it's sticking to its guns on this one. Of course, with I/O coming up, we may not have to wait much longer to see the next step in Chromevolution.

...I'm so, so sorry.

Source: Reuters

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

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  • nawa

    Well, that was quite predictable. They do really have too different base code. I think the best we can expect is running Android apps in Chrome OS. At least in next several years.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      I don't understand people who say this. Is no one aware that Android apps are designed to be modular and run in full screen? What would an Android app look like if you had it in a full-screen Chrome window, but then shrank it down to fit in a third of the screen? Are most apps even designed to scale this way? How much developer effort would be needed to repair the rift? Can Google automate that? How much work would be needed to run Java apps in Chrome OS? Wouldn't that defeat the point of a web-connected OS just a little bit? Would Chrome even still bother being a browser-based OS if it were running Android apps?

      Do people just forget these questions exist?

      • PhillipCun

        web-connected OS is the future.

      • Steve Green

        If things are done correctly not much change would be needed. Scaling can all be done automatically.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          Scaling automatically and scaling dynamically are not the same thing. Android apps are designed to work on multiple screen sizes, but the design philosophy that goes in to them are fundamentally different. This is a challenge that web developers have been facing for decades.

      • grellanl

        Honestly, the technical challenges could all be overcome. The big issue here is a *philosophical* difference between Android (which is a classical client OS with native apps etc., but highly-connected), and ChromeOS (which is an ultraslim browser platform).

        The question is, does the latter make sense? It's still unproven in the market, although it's starting to pick up some momentum of late.

  • Robert Goddard

    Plus a dash of "salt" (NaCl)... I see what you did there :-)

    • http://twitter.com/MatthewZizz MatthewZizz

      ...----goo.gl/jXGew (Home more information)

    • http://twitter.com/MatthewZizz MatthewZizz

      like Bruce replied I'm stunned that you can profit $9218 in 1 month on the network.

      • GraveUypo

        can't something be done about these spambots? it's getting too frequent to ignore

        • Sootie

          Today is the first time I have seen them (and I'm here every day) I'm sure Artem and the team are working flat out on it as we speak. I think flagging them as inappropriate will bring them to his attention faster but I didn't tell you that if its not correct....

  • Chris

    I still say they should merge. At least in Android 6.0 or Android 7.0

  • FrillArtist

    Why do people want Android and Chrome to merge? I just can't understand the way some people think sometimes. Android is clearly meant for the smaller screen while Chrome is meant for the bigger screen. It will only frustrate developers and due to app scalability problems and the like.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      I would like my chrome apps to work in chrome on android at the very least.

    • PhillipCun

      .... think long term.

    • Freak4Dell

      Agreed. I don't want them to merge. However, they both have things that would be nice if they were ported over to the other.

    • Sergio

      Don't you want some kind of Android Desktop OS that let you run easily-and-beautifully adapted native linux desktop apps? All with Google's UI flavour and synchronicity? Can you imagine how BIG this step could be?

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexslx Alexandre Leites

    All that I want is the next version of Android comes with a good interface to serve a OS for SmartTVs. I saw something in CES, but I'm not sold yet;

    • PhillipCun

      GoogleTV? That's a fork of andriod. it sucks still... but Google said they'll be putting more effort

      • http://www.facebook.com/alexslx Alexandre Leites

        Yes, I'm talking about GoogleTV, and as you said, it still sucks and I hate when someone call any TV as "SmartTV". They aren't smart yet, they suck a lot when you try to use any of these interfaces created by companies or Google itself. But, lets see the new version...

  • Tatsuya

    Forking Android or moving to something else will always be possible before we all get forced into a corporate cloud.

  • Dinofan01

    I'm more curious to hear android police's on Schmidt's comment about Google now on iOS. That video leak from last week and his comment practically confirms it. IOS continues to get the best Google experiences.

    • Freak4Dell

      Other than Maps, which we'll probably see updated at I/O, what does iOS get that's better than its Android counterpart? Now is already available on Android.

  • Matthew Fry

    Also newsworthy is that Eric Schmidt is selling 42% of his shares of Google. Woah. Is that a good sign or a bad one?

    It's not like he needs money-

  • Asphyx

    While Android apps are built on Java and Chrome apps meant to be browser based I don't see why there would be an issue since Java has been used in Browsers from it's invention.

    Chrome Apps should at somepoint work on any Android device via the Chrome Browser and all they need to do is find some way to use Android Apps inside that browser as well.

    That maybe tougher but hardly impossible. And I'm not sure there is anything in ChromeOS I really want so merging the two could be as bad as it might be good.

    It does make sense for Google to try and keep all thier products aligned in some way but If thats the case why have two different tracks in the first place?
    Chrome seems to be just another way of doing what Sun always thought Java would do in the Browser. and it seems odd that Google is now trying to ressurect a platform than Android has done a good job on killing....Just look at laptop sales in general.

  • http://www.facebook.com/babywarez Gerardo Sarabia Molina

    Chrome OS started with a nice concept, I was actually really excited about it. But I think now its becoming less and less promising. Especially when Google Reader is going to be killed soon. I didn't use Reader but we are talking about cloud services, and that is the base of Chrome OS. I mean, Reader isn't a problem, but what if we store all our information (photos, music, and other kind of documents, etc.) around cloud services? they're going to be deleted at some point. Yeah, Sync is cool, but it isn't cool to download gigas, maybe teras of info just because a company didn't make it.

    Android and Chrome OS are very different concepts that can't be merged at this time. Imagine Android cloud based... Actually, I don't think Chrome OS is gonna make it, it's kind of a pointless OS... nobody is developing (for real) for it. It's a nice concept, but we aren't ready. All they can do is... dualboot.

  • JG

    Is there a copy of the most recent version of Chrome OS I could download and either run as a live CD or install on a virtual PC? Would like to give it a try, without having to forking over $200 or so for another laptop (especially when I'm saving up for an X Phone this summer)...