There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about the future of the Android operating system. The trigger this time was the resignation of Android chief Andy Rubin.
One post in particular has caught my attention. Rather than focusing on Andy’s departure, it shines light on Sundar Pichai, currently head of Chrome OS project, who will be taking over Android. The article then claims Chrome OS and Android will merge and achieve what Windows 8 could not – single platform running on full gamut of devices.
The article is wrong on one fundamental level – Chrome OS and Android are completely different systems, designed with different goals in mind. Merging them together is simply impossible, one would cease to exist in the process. What can happen is feature migration from one to another. Chrome OS has the goal of proving the Web to be a viable operating system, with all data stored in the cloud, and the physical device being only a thin client accessing that data. It’s a great project, but is still an esoteric system, not for everyday use.
It’s hard to predict the future, especially in technology. Chrome OS and Android may one day merge, but I doubt it. Likewise, I don’t expect Android in the current state to run on a laptop, much like Gingerbread wasn’t meant to be run on tablets. Both technologies will evolve, shaped by Google, Google’s hardware partners, application developers, and the users. Where we end up is anyone’s guess.
Full disclosure: I’ve dedicated countless hours to application development on Android, and am heavily invested in its future.