What’s this big Google Andromeda is all about? So far, Google has maintained two separate operating systems for its devices: Chrome OS for Chromebooks and Android for Nexus phones and tablets. It’s been inching toward more unity, most notably by bringing Android apps onto select Chromebook earlier this month. But Andromeda would be a true hybrid of the two operating systems, unifying the OS of Google-designed phones, tablets and laptops.
In 2015 reports from the wall street journal claimed that Google was working on folding Chrome OS into Android to create a single operating system. The report also suggested that Google had been working for at least two years on making this move happen.
Two independent and reliable sources have reported that Google is planning a new Pixel laptop to be released in Q3 2017. The project, known internally as ‘Bison’ and by the informal nickname ‘Pixel 3,’ will likely be the first brand-new device to showcase Google’s combined Android / Chrome OS ‘Andromeda’ operating system in a laptop form factor.
It is also reported that Google plans for the device to run Andromeda. Andromeda is a completely distinct effort from Google’s current campaign to bring Android apps to Chromebooks, and that Bison would not be marketed as a Chromebook. Android apps on Chrome OS descended from the ARC project, while Andromeda is a much larger, more ambitious initiative that is being pursued via merging Chrome features into Android, not vice versa. And by the time Bison launches, Google wants to be ready to showcase Andromeda running a variety of enterprise, developer, and stylus-driven apps on the device – a way to argue that Bison and Andromeda will create a laptop experience that is truly attempting to rival Apple and Microsoft.
What do Bison and Andromeda mean for Android, and for Android phones and tablets? Well, right now: probably not much. Google will announce its Pixel smartphones on October 4th, and they will be running Android 7.1. Google may well tease Andromeda at this event. But the Pixel and Pixel XL, Google Home, Google Wifi, Daydream View, and the new Chromecast Ultra will likely remain the focus on that day, even if an Andromeda demo manages to steal the show.
Does this mean Android is dead?
No. It’s more like Chrome OS – as we know it – is dead.
Android Police suggested that Google is currently focused on pitching Andromeda as a laptop experience that will rival Microsoft and Apple. The company hasn’t yet released a Chromebook Pixel for 2016, for instance, because it’ll likely ditch “Chromebook” altogether and move forward with Andromeda. Also, keep in mind Google is expected to announce new Pixel phones in October running Android 7.1.
While Google may demo Andromeda at the Pixel launch event in October, its new Android-powered hardware and Pixel brand is meant to be the focus, alongside the Google Home voice-activated speaker, Google Wi-Fi router, Daydream VR headset, and Chromecast Ultra dongle. Google still has a long way to go with Andromeda, but by 2017, we should see the first devices running Andromeda.