Google will merge its Android and Chrome operating systems, with the mobile platform winning the upper hand, according to The Wall Street Journal.
While Android has managed to extend from its base in smartphones across tablets, wearables, entertainment and other devices, in contrast Chrome has remained a niche proposition for lightweight laptops – a market that the bigger platform is also capable of supporting.
It is not the first time alignment of the platforms has been proposed and, according to the report, it will not be a quick shift – Chrome will live on until 2017, but a prototype of the combined platform will be unveiled next year. The source code will remain available on an open-source basis, should third-party vendors be interested.
While much of Android’s success to date has been based on an apps model, where software is downloaded to the device, Chrome has relied more on the web – an area where Google’s online services strength has benefited it. But Android has also managed to build a significant content and apps ecosystem.
Hiroshi Lockheimer, SVP of Android, Chromecast and Chrome OS, played down the speculation, taking to Twitter to state that there is a “ton of momentum for Chromebooks and we are very committed to Chrome OS”.
But with a potential merge more than a year away, it would be unusual for him to say anything else, for the risk of creating an interregnum should buyers wait for the launch of the new platform.