The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has noticed a change in Google's management that may herald the merger of Android and Chrome OS.
The WSJ reported that "Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of engineering for its Android mobile-operating system, is now also overseeing the engineering team behind Google’s Chrome operating system." The paper believes that is a sign that Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president in charge of Android, Chrome and Apps since 2013, plans on merging the two operating systems sooner rather than later.
If you've been following Google's operating systems closely, you might already have come to this conclusion. After all, both Android and Chrome OS are Linux operating systems. Some Android applications are now running on Chrome OS and soon all of Android apps will be running on Chrome OS. Indeed, if you want to do some work you can already run almost any Android program on your Chromebook.
Such a move would, of course, make life much easier for developers. While they'd still need to worry about user interface (UI) and experience (UX) issues with one operating system for smartphones, tablets, and desktops/laptops, that's easier than dealing with two currently separate operating systems.
From a business perspective, such a merger would also make Chromebooks much more attractive. Android, according to Gartner, owns the smartphone and tablet market with an almost two-to-one advantage over closest rival Apple iOS. But, on the PC side, WSJ reports that IDC shows Chromebooks only have 2 percent of the market. Adding the over one million Android apps to Chrome OS's Web-based programs will boost Chromebooks' popularity considerably.
As I see it, Google has been slowly bringing its platforms together for well over a year now. This latest management change is only the latest sign of this evolution.
I predict that Google will officially bring them together after the 2014 holiday buying season. Google I/O 2015 is scheduled for late June 2015. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if Pichai or Sergey Brin posts the official banns of marriage for Android and Chrome OS at the show.