[Updated] According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Google is planning to combine their two operating systems – Chrome OS and Android – into one unified OS in the near future. The report suggests that because Android is the more dominant of the two OSes in the market, Chrome OS will be folded into Android, keeping the Android brand alive at the expense of Chrome OS.
Due to the branding change, Google would also be updating the name "Chromebooks" to reflect that these devices are now running Android rather than Chrome OS. However in an interesting turn of events, this morning Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's Senior VP of Android and Chrome OS, took to Twitter to support Chrome OS:
There’s a ton of momentum for Chromebooks and we are very committed to Chrome OS. I just bought two for my kids for schoolwork!— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) October 30, 2015
Of course, that is not denying the report of the operating systems merger. What it does is preventing prospective Chromebook buyers from running away if Chrome OS days are numbered. After all, the rumor suggests the release of the new operating system is still several years away and that it will be unveiled and demonstrated at Google I/O in 2016, ahead of a wide release in 2017.
As far as logistics are concerned, Android is expected to be updated so that it can run efficiently and functionally on laptops and desktop computers. Android will probably gain a true desktop environment in the merge, while the inclusion of the Play Store would bring a much more versatile selection of apps to Google's PC operating system.
Folding Chrome OS into Android would place some serious heat on Microsoft and Windows 10, which has been developed to run across a multitude of platforms. Although Windows 10 is a more mature operating system with features for all types of use cases, Android, with its vast app catalog and dominance on smartphones, could become a worthy challenger.