There have long been rumors of Google looking to merge Android for mobile devices with Chrome OS for laptops into a single operating system. The closest that Google has come to anything resembling the rumor is the ongoing work to allow Chromebooks, laptops which run on Chrome OS, to access the Google Play Store and run Android apps.
The rumor mill on the Android-Chrome OS merger is now once again buzzing due to a cryptic tweet by Android, Chrome OS and Google Play Store senior VP Hiroshi Lockheimer.
As you might have heard, word on the street has it that Google could be unveiling Project Andromeda on the 4th of October, which in case you haven’t heard, is Google’s vision of the future where Android and Chrome OS are merged together into a single platform. If you’re looking for more proof, you’re in luck.
A report by 9to5Google claims that the company is now testing the hybrid operating system on the HTC-made Nexus 9, with evidence found on the Android 7.0 Nougat AOSP. A few lines of code on the mobile operating system directly referenced Andromeda, with an anonymous source revealing that there are some users testing the early builds of the hybrid operating system on the tablet.
A file named within the Nougat AOSP called ‘SurfaceCompositionTest.java’ is said to be a utility for testing graphics performance. By the sound of things, it’s not dissimilar to the Windows Experience Index that assigns a score to a device based on key internal hardware.
In this instance, the device needs to score at least an 8.0 in order for it to be compatible, and the Nexus 9 scores an 8.8.
As a refresher, the slate packs NVIDIA’s Tegra K1 Kepler graphics; a strong, albeit ageing GPU that rolled out well over two years ago. With the Nexus 9 seemingly just scraping over the line, it’s somewhat unlikely that Andromeda will be rolled out to the device at consumer level.
This doesn’t actually mean that Google has plans to release Andromeda for the Nexus 9 in any capacity, rather it is likely just the device they have chosen to test the software on. It’s also worth considering that a merged version of Android and Chrome OS software (in this case, Andromeda, as it now seems to be known) wouldn’t likely be ready for release until sometime next year, and by the time Google could have a build ready for a public launch, the Nexus 9 will be well past two years old.
The reason behind using the Nexus 9 to test Andromeda is not clear. However, it is largely known that the idea behind merging Android and Chrome OS was so that Android would become better suited to power laptops and similar machines such as the 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrid devices. With references to ‘free-form window management’ also found within the code, it’s probable that hybrid devices may be among the eventual beneficiaries, as opposed to everyday slabs such as the Nexus 9.
Despite Lockheimer possibly hinting that Andromeda might be previewed on Oct. 4, along with reports that Google is already testing the merged operating system, I think we should not get ahead of ourselves. It is still unclear if there will be a demonstration of Andromeda at the upcoming event, or when the hybrid operating system will be ready for users to try out.
In any case we expect that the official details will be shared on the 4th of October, assuming and hoping the rumors are true.
Source : 9to5Google