Google: Android and Chrome OS will slowly converge

Google: Android and Chrome OS will slowly converge
A Chrome OS tablet is NOT on the cards

Google's vice president of engineering Linus Upson has told TechRadar that the company is categorically not working on a Chrome OS tablet, but does expect a slow convergence with the Android mobile operating system.

In a briefing to introduce the new Chrome devices from Samsung and a revised Chrome OS, Upson told TechRadar; "We are not working on a Chrome OS tablet."

"We have our hands full in delivering a wonderful experience on dektop and laptop and the Android team have their hands full bringing a great experience on phone and tablet. But the two teams are working together even more closely."

Microsoft proved the point

Upson believes that there will be a slow convergence between Google's two operating systems, but believes Microsoft's earlier attempts to run over multiple platforms and Apple's success with Mac OS and iOS indicate that different devices still need a different OS.

"The use cases in technology stacks on phone and tablet are very different to desktop and laptop, as are the user expectations, and the types of things you do are also very different," said Upson.

"That's why everyone has two different solutions for these problems. Apple has Mac OS and iOS, Microsoft has two – they just happen to call them both Windows – and at Google we do the same.

"But I think everyone does expect you will see more and more convergence and bringing together of [the two projects] so you can get the best of both.


"Microsoft demonstrated quite convincingly earlier this century that if you take one environment and jam it across all devices it wasn't going to work."

"Microsoft demonstrated quite convincingly earlier this century that if you take one environment and jam it across all devices it wasn't going to work so now you see a lot more caution.

"Apple doesn't try to smash the two together and we're not trying to do it, but in time there will be a seamless user experience across all the devices."

Already started

Upson believes that this convergence has already begun in earnest, with Chrome on Android phones bringing some of the functionality of Chrome OS.

"New phones have got to the point where we can run all of Chrome which wasn't possible before ARM chips got faster and faster," he said.

"So we are able to bring the full Chrome experience to phone or tablet and you see this with Microsoft and Apple devices as well.

"With Chrome on Android and Chrome OS and Chrome on Windows or on Mac you get the same web browsing experience everywhere.

"…So we're seeing convergence slowly over time and doing the right thing for users.

"Everyone likes to call a horse race [between Android and Chrome OS] but we don't look at it like that at all. We look at what's the right thing to do for the user and how you build the right experience."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.