Soon after the news of integration of Windows 8 and its sibling platform for smartphones (Windows Phone), the possibilities of Chrome OS and Android seem infinite. The idea seems to have been fueled by a comment from Linus Upson, the Vice President of Google, that the company isn’t working on extending Chrome OS’s functionalities to tablets but is considering gradually merging it with Google’s mobile operating system, Android.
Until recently, Chrome OS’s adoption and usage has been half-baked, to say the least. Google insists that the desktop operating system is more of a long-time investment. As of now, Samsung is the only company to have acknowledged Chrome OS’s capabilities with its new series 5 Chromebook, which comes equipped with Aura, the new iteration of Chrome OS.
For an operating system completely nested on the cloud, Chrome OS finds no need for a software development kit or a programming language for developers all over the world to code new applications since HTML5 and Flash-based applications work just fine for the OS. With the Chrome browser gaining popularity, developers creating extensions for the browser are indirectly adding to the overall functionality of Chrome OS too.
When it comes to advance tasks like media editing, Chrome OS might lag behind most popular operating systems today but makes up for it with features already available on the internet for such tasks, such as Google’s own editing tools and Aviary. The pricing of the Chromebook, however, holds people back from buying it since it’s a tad too high for a premature OS which is only aimed at casual users.
There have been rumors that the next version of Android (Jellybean) might have Chrome OS working parallel alongside via dual boot, but that’s not exactly what convergence means in this context. Chrome OS’s VP Sundar Pichai has made no comments on the chances of such a dual boot solution, so it’s still unknown if the work on the project, if any, has begun or not.
If a merger of Android and Chrome OS does happen in near future, it will be interesting to see which set of functionalities from both the operating systems would be retained and which would be done without. For example, Chrome OS’s auto updates would be an added bonus for Android; but the whole point of apps would disappear with Chrome OS’s Flash/HTML5 capabilities. Thus, if Google does come around and merges the two OS’s, execution is going to be vital.