Chromebook Pixel: Does this device herald Android and Chrome OS's wedding?

Chromebook Pixel: Does this device herald Android and Chrome OS's wedding?

Summary: Pretty much everyone agrees that Google's Chromebook Pixel is too expensive to just run the Chrome OS Web browser. But what if it could run Android tablet apps as well?


I love the Chromebook Pixel. The more I work with it, the more I love its speed. And its display is better than Apple's Retina. But, wow, $1,299. That's a lot of money. Now, if I really needed its terabyte of free Google Drive storage, I could see it, but I don't need that much personal cloud space.

Google's Chromebook Pixel may turn out to be the first device that runs the combined Android and Chrome OS operating system. (Credit: Paul Wilcox on Google+)

So, with the exception of cloud power users, why would anyone spend that much money on a Chromebook? Then I thought: "Why would anyone spend almost as much money on Microsoft's Windows 8-powered Surface Pro?" Well, I wouldn't buy a Surface Pro on a bet, but Microsoft believes that there's an audience for both a tablet and a desktop experience on one device.

Suppose Google also thinks there's a market for a merged tablet/desktop experience? Well, Chrome OS can't deliver that, it's pure desktop; but as it happens, Google has another operating system that is pure tablet and smartphone: Android. Eureka!! Suddenly a lightbulb lit up over my head.

Google's new Chromebook - pretty as a Pixel (Gallery)

We know Google eventually plans on marrying Android and Chrome OS. Back in 2009, Google co-founder Sergey Brin had said that Android and Chrome OS would likely draw closer to each other and then merge. Since then, Google occasionally makes noises about marrying the two Linux-based operating system. Why not now?

The move makes perfect sense. Chromebook sales are great and Android smartphones and tablets are taking off. Microsoft's Surface marriage of the tablet and desktop has gone nowhere. Pure PC sales are in the dumpster and Windows 8 sales are horrific. Now is the perfect time to get people ready for a high-end Google tablet/PC: the Chromebook Pixel.

The Pixel comes with a touch-screen; it just needs apps that can really use it. With 700,000+ Android apps, Android would give Chrome OS all the local apps a user could ever want. The Pixel also has 32 GB of local space on its SSD for all those apps.

What's that, you say? Android doesn't run on x86 processors? Sure, it does. Intel ported Jelly Bean to its architecture last September. In addition, the Chrome Web browser, which is Chrome OS's interface, arrived on Android in the summer of 2012.

The parts to marry Chrome OS and Android are in place and the pretty-as-a-picture Pixel would make a great device to show off their combined powers. Heck, there's even a Chrome-coated Android robot hiding in plain-sight on the Google campus. I'd be willing to bet that sometime soon, perhaps by sumer, we'll see "AndOS" or "Chromedroid" -- and the first place we'll it is on a Chromebook Pixel.

Related Stories:

Topics: Android, Browser, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Linux, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Chromebook Pixel: Does this device herald Android and Chrome OS's wedding?

    Sure is..............most complete product to hit the market in none
    Over and Out
    • Yes, the most useless product.

      The mini SJVN has spoken, aka Singapore dung.
      • Fear

        Dude, why are you so afraid of technology? This is the future, get used to it or get left behind. Although I have a feeling you've already been left in the dust. Good luck with your 486 DX2.
        • ChromeBook Is The Future? Sad Days Ahead

          Spend $1300 on a nice laptop, strip away every bit of the software and the operating system, Download a free browser and you have the Chromebook Pixel, Right?
          I see that as living with a 386 again, running Win 3.1.
          Thats about as much sense as a touchscreen on a laptop, A mouse gets you around quicker the giving yourself tennis elbow just attempting to edit a spreadsheet.
          I miss the days when technology was advancing, not regressing.
  • Chromebook Pixel: Does this device herald Android and Chrome OS's wedding?

    Chromebook - another Google fail. You and Google both want people to pay $1300 to do what they already doing on a much cheaper phone. I don't see the logic in that. Android apps have a history of being unstable and contain malware. Its based on linux so you have to endure the whole insecure OS thing as well.

    At least with the Microsoft Surface that you mentioned you know what you are getting. A stable, secure, reliable device that can run your current applications. It makes migrating to a Microsoft Surface very simple. Can't do that with a chromebook and android. Just say it, chomebook pixel is DOA.
    • At least with the Microsoft Surface that you know what you are getting

      I agree.................a waste of time annd money on anything named Surfacce or Windows 8............W-8 is a toy OS witha UI designed for 7th graders..............its a fail in al regards.....................period
      Over and Out
      • Designed for 7th graders

        Perfect for the market. If you look at the average tablet user, it's not for business.
        • not even that market

          kids all want apple typically. My kids think MS is about as cool as IBM - old Mr. Burns types in suits, and laugh 'at' (not with) steve ballmer jumping around like monkey at a presentation. Sorry the surface is DOA with that age group as well.
          • You couldn't be more wrong if you tried, dr. wrong


            "Teens are telling us Apple is done," says Tina Wells of the youth marketing agency Buzz Marketing Group. "Apple has done a great job of embracing Gen X and older [Millennials], but I don't think they are connecting with Millennial kids. [They're] all about Surface tablets/laptops and Galaxy."
          • I had to get a shot in at the above clowns

            Even though we disagree on MS and linux, at least you can have a reasonable discussion. Its guys like owl1net and loverock that pollute these forums with crap.
          • really?

            Look at the mirror and see who is the clown. Apple products are crap and so does chrome os, you may not like it, but I can't help you.
          • Owlll1net Really you think

            Owlll1net you should be the one to look at the mirror and see who is the clown. Microsoft products are crap and especially Surface RT, you may not like it, but I can't help you.
            Over and Out
          • 95 percent of businesses run windows

            Obviously Windows is the best and the rest is crap. take your medication, it may help.
          • really

            Must be the 1st graders, loving the colorful tiles, and being able to touch those colorful and shinny tiles -- yes, Microsoft is so cool. Sorry, Microsoft has some good products, and Windows 7 is one of them, but being cool -- not hardly. And Windows 8 is just awful.
          • .... and what are the teens carrying now

            Surely you don't suppose a Windows phone like they GRANDPA had ...
    • love it

      how you always have resort to lies for your opposing viewpoint. Like how google 'spies' is a popular one. If they do, then microsoft "spies" too but its even worse because everything is completely closed source. With MS you'll be paying for it and then when they get you and your files locked to the OS, and now thier cloud, they'll just love to add in email based ad targeting just as they are scroogling google about, and raise subscription fees just to squeeze that last extra dime out of you holding your files hostage.
      There is no android malware problem for people who don't go looking for it. With windows, you just visit a web page and voila, entire system pwned. Thats what you call a malware problem.
      • No malware on Android?

        You must be joking, there are more malware than apps in Android. Totally insecure design.
        • perfect example

          Read up on windows architecture for a history of design with security crudely patched on like plugging a dike. This weak foundation still permeates current windows phone, and RT as well. Then I'll walk you through android and explain why it is secure by design from the ground up.

          In android you'd have to be savvy enough to know how to install a custom ROM to your phone, but then be stupid enough to give superuser to some random apk you found on a porn site. Also you are saying people are stupid that they can't read app permission requests on install. Nothing to do with design and you know it.
          • Now this is too funny

            "Then I'll walk you through android and explain why it is secure by design from the ground up."

            Hilarious to see anyone try to explain how Java is secure by design in light of exploit after exploit after exploit after exploit that annihilate any computing device silly enough to have Java installed on it.
          • no

            its nothing to do with "java". Android uses the language syntax and rewrote commonly used (clean room implementation) java libraries which are alongside google's own android libraries. (and just in case, lets not get into the 'google stole java' argument please). The java problem has to do with the browser plugin anyway. That again has nothing to do with android.