Reality check Androids leadership shuffle does not mean Chrome OS and Android

first_imgAs Andy Rubin, the father of Android, steps down to pursue other Google-based projects, and Chrome lead Sundar Pichai will step up to handle his existing workload as well as instructions to “double down” on Android. It’s pretty natural to assume that there will be some cross communication between Android and Chrome, but how far will that really go?Imagine the world that we would live in if Android and Chrome OS played together. Android apps running in Chrome tabs, background updates for Android that happen without interrupting the user, and everything in the cloud. There’s plenty of reasons to want this merger to happen, and there’s more than enough talent at Google to make it happen. The line between these platforms has always seemed pretty thin anyway, especially since they are both made by Google. If you take a step back and look at the two platforms from the ground up, however, you’ll see that there’s more than a few necessary differences.Android grew in popularity by being something open source that any company could pick up and make their own. The Android platform focused on easy sharing and enabling location-aware devices that made your mobile tasks easier. The specific focus there was enabling the user to be able to do more on these tiny pocket computers. Along the way, this design has changed shape a bit, but the overall focus hasn’t changed.This is wildly different from Chrome OS, which aims to remove as many layers as possible between you and the web. Hassles like file systems, apps, and having to be concerned about the way your computer is behaving are seen as distractions. Chrome OS isn’t about being more productive with a more powerful machine, it’s about being more productive by removing distractions.In order to see a real merger here, Pichai would have to embark on the same journey he did with Chrome. The browser needs to be something that requires no thought from the user, and in many ways that is exactly what Chrome is. If you apply that same logic to Android you would be looking at an OS where version number is irrelevant. Everything is always up to date, and the hardware is never something you have to think about because it is always something that “just works”. Android is pretty far from that luxury right now, especially since they are part of an aggressive ecosystem whose primary focus right now is delivering the best features.The question isn’t whether or not Pichai can deliver bits from one experience and port it to another. If Google wanted Android apps to run in their browser, it would have happened already. The real magic trick here would be for Android to look at an end game of no longer behaving like an operating system, and instead behaving like a user experience.last_img