Google will fold its Chrome operating system used in personal computers into the Android mobile OS, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Beginning in 2017, Google will only have a single operating system on the market, with Android featured on tablets, smartphones, and notebook computers. Google will show an early version of the new unified Android OS next year, The WSJ said, citing anonymous sources.
The move should help unify Google’s software efforts and make its platform more appealing to third-party software developers.
Until now Google has maintained a clear delineation between its two operating systems, The Chrome OS, based on Google’s Chrome web browser, is for the traditional laptop and PC-like family of Chromebook devices. Android is for lower-powered devices like tablets and smartphones, and increasingly gadgets like watches and TVs.
Google will rename the Chromebook notebook computers, once they feature the new version of Android, The WSJ said, but the new name for the Chromebooks has not yet been determined. Google’s web browser will apparently keep the Chrome name.
The move is not a complete surprise. Google executives have acknowledged in the past that Android and Chrome “will likely converge over time.” Google united the teams working on the two operating systems under one management structure in 2014.
Another recent clue came in September, when Google unveiled the Pixel C hybrid tablet-notebook. The device is the first product in the Pixel line of devices to drop the Chrome OS in favour of Android.
Google declined to comment.