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

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?
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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