There’s no Chrome OS tablet in the works. Instead, the notebook OS will converge with Android.
During a briefing on Tuesday to introduce the new Samsung Chromebook and Chromebox, Google’s vice president of engineering Linus Upson said that the company is not working on a Chrome OS tablet. Instead, Google expects to see a slow convergence between Chrome OS and its popular mobile platform for tablets and smartphones, Android.
“We have our hands full in delivering a wonderful experience on desktop and laptop and the Android team have their hands full bringing a great experience on phone and tablet,” he said. “But the two teams are working together even more closely.”
Upson said that although there will be a slow convergence between the two operating systems, that doesn’t mean Google will eventually have one platform spread across multiple devices. Apple’s success with Mac OS and iOS proves that different devices need separate operating systems.
There’s also no horse race between Android and Chrome OS, he said. Google instead determines what is right for the end-user and figures out how to build the right experience based on that.
“The use cases in technology stacks on phone and tablet are very different to desktop and laptop, as are the user expectations, and the types of things you do are also very different,” Upton said. “That’s why everyone has two different solutions for these problems. Apple has Mac OS and iOS, Microsoft has two – they just happen to call them both Windows – and at Google we do the same.”
He said that everyone expects to see Chrome OS and Android come together so that consumers get the best of both platforms. “Apple doesn’t try to smash the two together and we’re not trying to do it, but in time there will be a seamless user experience across all the devices,” he added.
The first signs of convergence can already be seen thanks to Chrome for Android. Currently the browser is only for Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” and above, limiting the full Chrome experience to a handful of smartphones and tablets. However the browser is also on Microsoft and Apple devices and operating systems, providing a more universal experience.
“With Chrome on Android and Chrome OS and Chrome on Windows or on Mac, you get the same web browsing experience everywhere,” he said. “So we’re seeing convergence slowly over time and doing the right thing for users.”