Google is set to unload a bunch of mobile-related news on October 4th, likely including a presentation focused on Chromecast Ultra, Google Home, and “don’t call them Nexus” Pixel phones.
And while news about fresh hardware should get the attention of Android fans, it appears the biggest and most transformative announcement could come from Google’s software team.
Several hours ago, Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior VP of Android, Google Play, and Chrome tweeted this rather cryptic message:
If it seems innocuous and vague, that’s because it’s meant to be. We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise if we were in Mr. Lockheimer’s shoes either. But given the right context, his tweet could be a telling hint at Andromeda (not an official name), a forthcoming operating system that merges Android and Chrome OS.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal first reported last year about Google’s plans to “fold” Chrome OS into Android. Word on the street is that Google is currently testing the yet-to-be-announced hybrid OS on the Nexus 9, a likely candidate given its screen size.
None of this should come as a surprise; Google has previously confirmed that Android apps are coming to Chrome OS soon. But if that’s the case, then what’s the point of Andromeda? That’s a good question — and one that will be answered over time.
Our guess is that Andromeda will support a wider variety of hardware and mobile apps and bring continuity features across Google devices. Having said that, do we think Chrome OS is on its last legs? Definitely. But don’t count it out just yet; the first Andromeda-based tablet or laptop could arrive as late as 2017, according to the same WSJ sources.
Meanwhile, for people who cannot wait to run Android apps on their tablets and PCs, there’s always Remix OS, a free and easy-to-install operating system that puts Android Marshmallow on your computer. It even has an emulator version, meaning less hassle for those who aren’t tech-savvy enough.