We've been sitting on this one a while (sorry), watching and waiting to see what might signal that something big, really big, would be announced at Google's event on October 4th. As in, bigger than Pixel phones. Bigger than Chromecast Ultra, Google Home, or Google Wifi. And then, a couple of hours ago, Senior VP of Android, Google Play, and Chrome Hiroshi Lockheimer tweeted the following.
We announced the 1st version of Android 8 years ago today. I have a feeling 8 years from now we'll be talking about Oct 4, 2016.
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) September 24, 2016
Seemingly innocuous and vague, Lockheimer's tweet means little standing on its own. But with the right context? We believe this is the best evidence yet that Google plans to tease the long-fabled merger of Android and Chrome OS on October 4th. That project is known internally at Google as Andromeda, and even if we don't see Andromeda demoed on the 4th, we can assure you it's quite real.
While rumors that Android and Chrome OS would merge are seemingly as old as the coexistence of the operating systems themselves, those rumors began solidifying nearly a year ago, thanks to a report from The Wall Street Journal. In it, the Journal claimed that Google was planning to "fold" Chrome OS into Android to better suit the latter to running on a wider variety of hardware. Specifically: Google would fold major portions of Chrome OS into Android to push the resultant hybrid Android OS to a place it has failed to catch on - laptops (and similar devices like convertibles or 2-in-1s).
The Journal went on to claim that this merged OS wouldn't be ready for primetime until 2017, and we still believe that's the case. But they did explicitly say that Google would "show off an early version next year ." Well, we're running out of 2016. October 4th is Google's big, huge, hardware event where we'll see a host of cool new products announced. We weren't quite prepared to speculate that Google might have a "one more thing" moment with Andromeda, but this tweet has potentially made the connection we couldn't. What could be as important as the announcement of Android itself? It's certainly not just some new phones. Lockheimer has set expectations that this will be an event of historical significance for Google worthy of comparison to the birthdate of the world's most popular operating system. This is something big.
And at this point, we're feeling pretty good that "something" is Andromeda, just as The Wall Street Journal predicted a year ago (seriously, hats off for that scoop). What Andromeda will mean for Android, we really don't know yet. But if things work out the way we hope they will on the 4th, we may be getting our first glimpse of Google's vision - Android's biggest evolution yet. That's incredibly exciting.
Image via Wikipedia