Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
There has been speculation about Chrome and Android combining in some way for some time, but recently it’s all come to a head: They say Chrome will become part of Android. And that sucks.
It’s true I’m a die-hard Chromebook lover, but I’m also a huge Android advocate. So, I’m not really biased here. The facts of the matter actually speak for themselves.
— The Verge (@verge) November 1, 2015
Why Are They Joining?
For starters, Google is currently maintaining two operating systems and brands across a variety of devices, which is no doubt quite a lot easier to maintain as one operating system. Then you have to consider that the devices themselves are converging — what is the difference between a large tablet with a sturdy keyboard and a Chromebook (other than the operating system)?
It really does make sense from their point of view to consolidate the two operating systems. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said recently that mobile and desktops will blend together.
“Mobile as a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of as desktop today.” — Sundar Pichai
However, Hiroshi Lockheim, who manages Android, Chromecast and Chrome OS, says that they’ll remain committed to Chrome OS. So don’t lose hope yet.
There’s a ton of momentum for Chromebooks and we are very committed to Chrome OS. I just bought two for my kids for schoolwork!
— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) October 30, 2015
Why Is Chrome Becoming Part of Android?
The answer to why it’s Chrome getting swallowed up really comes down to one thing: apps. The Android marketplace is varied and plentiful, whereas the Chrome app situation is confusing and rather lacking. It’s really hard for Google to convince developers to create Chrome apps at the moment.
— Engadget (@engadget) October 31, 2015
And Why Will This Move Suck?
Losing Chrome OS will be devastating for many reasons, but the essence of it boils down to this: size, stability and security. Chrome OS is really good at all of these things: Android, not so much.
— Forbes Tech (@ForbesTech) November 1, 2015
Size and Speed of Chrome OS Versus Android
Actual sizes of Chrome OS and Android vary wildly, but Android seems to be the heftier of the two. Chrome OS takes up a tiny fraction of your hard drive, and a Chromebook boots insanely fast — in a matter of seconds. Chromebooks also last a long time due to not being very resource-hungry.
Android, on the other hand, takes up an enormous amount of your hard drive, and booting can take a few minutes. This is why I try really hard to never let my Android go flat.
The thought of having to wait several minutes before my laptop booted up gives me chills. I know, first world problems.
— VentureBeat (@VentureBeat) November 1, 2015
Stability and Security of Chrome OS Versus Android
We have all heard of Android security exploits via apps not purchased via the Google Play store, plus occasional other Android scares. But Chrome OS? It’s pretty darn secure.
Chrome OS has an auto-updating feature, so you’re always running the latest version and a sandbox architecture for apps to run in, meaning you’re safe from malicious code. It also runs a verified boot loader that checks for compromises before running. This keeps Chrome OS users pretty safe from threats.
Android apps are also sandboxed, but Android still has a long way to go to reach Chrome’s level of security. It may never get there.
Google is folding Android and Chrome OS into one operating system: https://t.co/UhHkPEGL97
— WSJ Tech (@WSJTech) October 31, 2015
What Might Happen?
Chrome OS may dissolve and get incorporated into Android, but there may be some light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously, having all the Android apps at your disposal on a Chromebook or Windows/Mac/Linux machine will be incredibly useful. But there are some other things I can see happening, too.
Chromebooks aren’t going anywhere (well, they might get a new name), so there will still need to be an operating system that is as stable, light, and secure as possible to run on them. I suspect Google will develop a lighter, tighter version of Android for these devices. Basically, if Chromebooks (or whatever they’re going to be called) aren’t quick to boot, safe to use and thoroughly reliable, there will be a problem. So Google will no doubt do their best to address this.
Also, many Chromebook users love being able to run Linux on their Chromebook. This shouldn’t be a problem, as most Android devices are already capable of running Linux. The world will just work out the next best way to do this.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) October 30, 2015
What Do You Think Of The Merger?
Do you think it’s crazy to merge Chrome OS into Android? Or do you think it’s perfectly sensible and just can’t wait to try it out? Talk to us about your hopes and fears for the move.