Schmidt does not rule out Android and Chrome OS merger

Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt actually did not say that Chrome OS and Android would remain forever apart.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Numerous news stories, based on a single Reuters report, which state that Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, had said that Android and Chrome OS would remain separate products with possibly some overlap, appear to be incorrect.

Schmidt actually did not rule out the new Linux-based operating systems eventually merging. Joe Wilcox of BetaNews found a video of Schmidt's question and answer session at the Google Big Tent Summit in New Delhi, India. In the video, we see Schmidt answering a question about whether or not Google might put an end to Android or Chrome OS now that one person, Sundar Pichai, will lead both Android and Chrome groups.

Schmidt responded, "No, is the answer. We don't make decisions based on who the leader is … [Google makes decisions] based on where the technology takes us."

He then segued into talking about how: "Chrome and Chromium are the world's best HTML5 authoring and developing systems. You should be using Chrome. It's faster, it's safer, it's more secure than any of your other browser choices. In Android, which is more of a Java-like development environment, it [the Chrome web browser] solves a different problem. There will be more commonality for sure, but they will remain separate for a very, very long time because they solve different problems."

First, Schmidt ruled out killing either operating system platform. I don't think anyone actually thought Google would do this. Google has invested considerable resources in both Android and Chrome OS. Android is now the world's most popular smartphone operating system, and Chrome OS and its associated Chromebook laptops are gaining more fans by the day.

Schmidt then started talking about the two operating systems' different development models. Finally, he spoke about how eventually the two will merge. At no point does he state that a marriage between the two platforms won't happen.

So it seems clear to me that when you take his off-the-cuff comment in context, there's every reason to believe that eventually we'll see Android and Chrome OS coming together to make one operating system.

To be precise, I still think we're going to see a Google operating system with Linux-Android as its foundation and a Chrome web-browser interface that will incorporate both Chrome OS-style HTML5 web applications and Android-style Dalvik local applications. The first platform you'll see this will be on the Chromebook Pixel. After all, Google is already nine-tenths of the way to already delivering the software — and the Pixel has both the keyboard Chrome OS likes and the touchscreen that Android requires.

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