Why Android and Chrome OS’s next step could be colossal

For years now, we’ve been hearing — and seeing — how Chrome OS and Android are coming together.

The saga has stretched on since the dawn of time — or, uh, at least since about 2015, when the Chromebooks-are-doomed chorus started confidently crooning about the inevitable pendingmerger” of Chrome OS and Android. At the same time, of course, those of us who were watching things closely anticipated a far more nuanced alignment of the platforms — nothing quite as dramatic as an only-one-can-survive duel, admittedly, but a far more realistic scenario and one we’d been seeing take shape for some time.

And what ended up happening? Well, I’ll tell ya, you rhetorical-question-adoring alpaca: The reality of that alignment became increasingly clear over time, with Google slowly but surely bringing more Android-like elements into Chrome OS (and even occasionally bringing Chrome-OS-inspired touches into Android). Month by month, year by year, we’ve watched the two platforms become more consistent, more complimentary, and more connected.

But that last part — the “connected” part — has always fallen frustratingly short of its potential. Chromebooks and Android phones certainly seem to go together these days, and moving from one to the other is a pleasingly familiar experience. But while Google’s come a long way with aligning the platforms’ interfaces, features, and even app selections, the notion of Chromebooks and Android phones working “better together” has been more marketing fluff than meaningful benefit — at least, up until now.

An under-development section in Google’s open-source Chrome OS code suggests a totally new system called Phone Hub is currently in the works for Chromebooks. Phone Hub, you say? Yes, Phone Hub! As initially observed by the eagle-eyed sleuths at 9to5Google, the feature will apparently “provide a [user interface] for users to view information about their Android phone and perform phone-side actions within Chrome OS.”

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Intriguing, no?

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.


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