Google has revealed that the next step for Chrome OS is a gradual convergence with Android, and not its use on a Chrome OS-based tablet. Both Chrome OS and Android carry the Google brand, the former used in desktop computing, while the latter, at mobile computing.
The convergence, reveals Google’s vice president of engineering, will be slow and gradual. This will allow both operating systems to coexist. Desktop and mobile computing, Google recognizes, are two very different things, of which people have different sets of expectations. However, the teams behind Android and Chrome OS today are now working closely with each other, envisioning a seamless Google experience in the future.
Yet Google is not the only company that desires such a unified experience. Apple, for instance, also has a desktop operating system, OS X, and a mobile operating system, iOS. The two operating systems have similar features that allow users to shift easily from a mobile device such as the iPod Touch, iPad, or Phone to a Mac. This year, Apple is pushing the envelope further by integrating iOS apps into the new OS X Mountain Lion.
Microsoft, learning from an earlier mistake of offering the same operating system across both mobile and desktop platforms, is also launching a new OS this year. Windows 8 is a desktop OS which features the Metro UI, a tile-based interface that is optimized for tablet use, but also works well on desktop computers and smartphones.
Today, Chrome OS may not have such a loyal following as Microsoft and Apple have. However, Google is determined that current developments may change that. As with Android, which started out small and ended up being present on many mobile devices, Chrome OS may take over the field of operating systems in the future especially as it converges with Android.
Already, the convergence is starting, with Chrome on Android already bringing some functions of Chrome OS onboard mobile devices. Users also get the same browsing experience from Chrome regardless of what operating system they are using.
Now, we simply have to wait and see where the results of this convergence might lead us in mobile and desktop computing.