Google's Andromeda OS: What to expect?

The Internet has been buzzing with rumors the last few days, regarding a supposed new operating system by Google that would fuse Android and Chrome OS into a singular software entity, dubbed Andromeda. Google fans are understandably becoming increasingly excited about the premise of such convergence, which is saying a lot about what people really want from the big G and tech in general — a greater focus on singularity — but is it too early celebrate?

It is too early to say, really, as the Andromeda hype wave that has been battering the Internet these last couple of days was set off by Android Police, which based its claims on “two independent and reliable sources” and a report on the possible convergence of Android and Chrome OS published by the Wall Street Journal in October 2015. On the other hand, Chrome Unboxed claims that Andromeda may simply be the codename of an internal project by Google that might never come to fruition, or at least, one that might not at all be the unified OS of tomorrow everyone is dreaming of. Either way, we are not here to pass untimely judgment on whether this OS is real or not, but rather to imagine what it would be like, were it real.

Chrome OS and Android are two very different beasts. One is a cloud-centric experience that necessitates the use of a web browser to access a suite of online software and apps on less powerful hardware, while the other revolves entirely around apps being downloaded and installed onto the device itself. For a while, Google pursued both, not knowing which approach would prove more successful. However, with Android usage soaring, the big G has since decided to bake in native support for Android apps into Chrome OS, thus allowing users of the desktop OS access to its vast ecosystem of software via the Play Store. Now, if the new rumors are anything to go by, Andromeda might be a much larger, more ambitious initiative that could see Chrome features being introduced into Android, and not vice versa. This could potentially spell the end of Chrome OS and bring Android to the desktop environment.

According to Android Police, Google will release the Pixel 3, codenamed “Bison”, sometime in Q3 2017, and it would not be marketed as a Chromebook, but rather as a full-fledged competitor to offerings by Microsoft and Apple. According to the rumors, “Bison” will support “tablet” mode, meaning that it could be a convertible device in the vein of the Lenovo Yoga series, or a detachable like Microsoft's Surface Book. Either way, it will likely move web-based software from the forefront to the back, in favor of a more independent and complete OS. This is not to say, however, that this concept will be ditched completely, as Google is bringing Instant Apps to Android, but it may take the back seat this time around.

A recent report by Wired on the future of Chromebooks states that:

Packing most of these sensors in a regular laptop seems redundant, but would make much more sense if the machine were running a universal operating system – one that is designed to work on smartphones, tablets and PCs. What is reported is also in line with the aforementioned rumors outlining a convertible 2-in-1 device. Furthermore, Google is definitely toying with the idea of Android for multitasking, as is evident from Nougat's multiwindow mode. Now, it may not seem very useful considering the relatively limited screen real estate of a smartphone — or even a phablet — but takes on a different image when thinking bigger. Like Pixel-C-bigger, or more.

It only makes sense for Google to try and forge an Android-powered desktop OS that can draw from the vast software pool of its mobile counterpart and offer a seamless experience for users when switching between devices. People are apparently becoming very excited at the prospect, which should be more than big enough an indicator as to what they want. Microsoft has been testing these waters for a while now with the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which allows developers to create apps capable of running and adapting to different devices and screen sizes, but its success has been limited for a plethora of reasons. Could Google fare better?

Senior vice president of Android, Google Play, and Chrome, Hiroshi Lockheimer, tweeted recently:

Although vague, Lockheimer's tweet suggests something big is coming our way on October 4th, a game changer, in fact. He could not just be referencing the new Pixel phones, could he? Google has something bigger under wraps, something bearing far greater implications for the future of Android.

Now for the codename, “Andromeda”. Apart from the obvious fact that it contains the first five letters of the word “android”, it surely has some clever hidden meaning as well. Could it be a reference to the Andromeda constellation? It very well may be. Andromeda is visible in the Northern Hemisphere and is immediately recognizable by its three brightest stars — α, β and γ — arranged in almost a perfect line. Could they symbolize the main platforms Andromeda will run on? Three pillars – mobile, desktop and hybrid devices? Not a lot left now before we find out.



1. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

another 'allo-eque' disappointment in d making

6. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

Another Apple troll in the making.

12. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Another butthurt Android in the making.

13. Mxyzptlk unregistered

*Android fan

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7521; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The real disappoint is Martineverest and Mxyzptlk. They are always cutting up Google and Android all the time. This is next pathetic attempt. It's really sad especially when they are making comments on something that he has not seen or know anything about. Sure we can all speculate on what it can do, and how it will turn out. However we all know Chrome OS is rock solid and secure. However it's limited in features and functionality. Where as everyone knows that Android is the polar opposite. Open and full of features and functionality. With each iteration more and more features and functionality have come on board. Clearly Martineverest and Mxyzptlk are forgetting that your beloved Microsoft is trying to copy some of Androids magic with their Universal apps. Even Apple is trying to do the same with their Apple Swift. The major difference is Android and it's ecosystem has a huge lead in the agnostic ecosystem compared to both Microsoft and Apple. Android has 2.4 million apps with the vast majority of them being agnostic. Whereas both Apple and Microsoft having next to nothing in the agnostic apps department.

21. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Translation: I'm a big Android fan who is at the helm of Google and I'm too ignorant to see anything else but what I say.

25. sgodsell

Posts: 7521; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Everyone knows that you are always here to cut up Android and Google, while always pushing your beloved Apple. The real ignorant person is you Mxyzptlk. So why did Apple come out with Swift language and runtime? Hmm. Well I know. It's because Apple wanted to leverage their existing iOS developers, so they could not only make apps for iOS, but for OS/X, and Ubuntu (IoT) as well. Everyone knows that the vast majority of the existing iOS apps are compiled and optimized to run on Apples Ax Arm processors. Those apps don't run on OS/X, and certainly not on Ubuntu. But since you don't know your head from your @$$ Mxyzptlk, then you wouldn't know about these facts. But Android from day one, could run its apps on any Processor or OS you through at it. That's because of its virtual machine. That's why Android is running on over 80% of the smart phones and almost 60% of the world's tablets. So if iOS was so perfect, then why did Apple create the Swift language and runtime? Also why did Microsoft create Universal apps? Both of which allow apps to run on their perspective platforms.

30. Marienx

Posts: 122; Member since: Aug 27, 2013

I really don't know what apple fans do on phone tech sites... There is no variety with apple.... same product... no options. No apple news aside from the main ones (that you usually read anywhere else) are worth reading or knowing about. As an android fan (not a fan of any brand, just android) I feel that by reading this site I can make better decisions, be exited for new products, etc cuz there are so many Android product out there.. What's exiting for an apple fan to keep checking this site more than once a month?.. that's right, nothing... And I swear I am not trying to "troll", but to be realistic.

2. MaesterLove unregistered

Will expect it not to be laggy like Android.

7. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

I experience not a single lag on most of my past and my current android phone. Not all android are Samsung.

9. royaldragonss

Posts: 22; Member since: Sep 27, 2016

what phone do u have?

11. vincelongman

Posts: 5745; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

An old Nexus 5 (2013) Its as smooth as my iPad Mini 2 (2013) Thanks to iOS 10, on iOS 9 my Nexus 5 was smoother

16. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Are you kidding? The Nexus 5 was one of the laggiest Android phones I've ever used. It took what it seemed like 5 seconds to snap a photo after pressing the shutter button. Until Google stops forcing all that crapware running in the background, Android will never stop lagging.

27. oyalinkaya

Posts: 29; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

Yeah! The shutter button. Nice try. LOL

23. baldilocks

Posts: 1542; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

You have got to be out of your mind. The Nexus 5 was and STILL is one of the smoothest Android phones. Now I know you are full of it.

10. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Stock Android doesn't lag, neither.

22. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Android lags. Deal with it.

24. baldilocks

Posts: 1542; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

iOS lags. I still deal with it on my work phone.

31. yoghibawono

Posts: 240; Member since: May 04, 2016

iOS lags like hell they need to pause apps to do multi tasking activity XD

32. BoardDWorld

Posts: 117; Member since: Aug 17, 2016

Thanks for the laugh, so true :)

3. Martineverest

Posts: 521; Member since: Oct 27, 2015

andromeda will make or mar future of android and chrome future just like windows 8 to microsoft

17. Nine1Sickness

Posts: 896; Member since: Jan 30, 2011

Andromeda will keep track of everything you do on it and force you to use google services in order to let Google spy on you.

18. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

And Apple and Microsoft begs to differ on their own ecosystem services?

26. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Mxy and Nine1Sickness, you guys really got nothing better to do with your life. At your end of days, you can recall your glorious trolling of Android and Google that nobody care.

15. Raghavkumar

Posts: 20; Member since: Sep 28, 2015

Creators of Remix OS are visionaries!

19. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Pixel is irrelevant thats why they made changes its name from Nexus.

20. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1185; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

This could be interesting, something like the remix OS would work wonders for the almost dying chrome book. I would actually considering purchasing one for simple work and web browsing.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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