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.
Chinese authorities have approved Google’s bid to acquire Motorola Mobility, clearing the final regulatory hurdle in a $12.5 billion deal initiated in August 2011 that gives the search giant a mobile device hardware business to go along with its successful Android operating system for smartphones and tablets.
Regulators in other major regional markets, including the U.S., had already okayed the merger. In exchange for approving the deal on Friday, the Chinese Commerce Ministry’s Anti-Monopoly Bureau extracted a pledge from Google that it would keep Android free and available without discrimination to all device makers for at least five years, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Last January, Motorola divided its mobile device business and its telecommunications equipment business into two independent public companies. Google announced its intent to acquire the former company, now known as Motorola Mobility, on Aug. 15, 2011 in order to “supercharge” its Android mobile operating system and build up its patent portfolio.
Google CEO Larry Page said at the time that the search giant intended “run Motorola as a separate business” and that Google remained committed to keeping Android open and available to all device makers. Andy Rubin, senior vice president of mobile at Google, said “the top five Android licensees” had been consulted ahead of the acquisition and “they all showed very enthusiastic support for the deal.”
Earlier this month, it was reported that Google plans to give multiple mobile device makers early access to its next version of Android in an attempt to create a more robust ecosystem to take on Apple and also to reassure partners that its Motorola Mobility acquisition won’t squeeze them out.
It has also been reported that Google wants to sell co-branded “Nexus” phones running Android Jellybean, the next version of the mobile operating system. It’s unclear whether this rumored phone or phones, which Google would reportedly sell through its own online store, would be built by Motorola Mobility or another Android partner.
The Google-Motorola Mobility merger could close in just a couple of days and layoffs at Motorola Mobility might be in the offing soon after, according to TechCrunch.
Motorola Mobility on Friday filed an 8-K form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission informing the SEC of the Chinese regulators’ decision to clear the deal and the two companies’ intent to finalize the transaction within two business days.
After that, Google will conduct a “listening tour” of Motorola Mobility operations, TechCrunch reported, citing an unnamed source. Google management will be “seeing what everyone does, then making decisions,” the source was quoted as saying. The tech site also claimed to have heard that “there will be layoffs coming imminently.”
For more from Damon, follow him on Twitter @dpoeter.
For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.
Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404702,00.asp