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Google is planning to integrate Android components into Chromebooks to speed up the arrival of new AI features. The ChromeOS team will use the Android Linux kernel and Android frameworks within ChromeOS. The process will allow AI advancements come to Chromebooks faster than if they were developed separately.

In the future, we might see ChromeOS and Android becoming more similar, like Ubuntu and Debian. Directors at Google say that these improvements in the tech stack won’t be ready for the public soon yet, and won’t be for a long time.

Android and ChromeOS to integrate deeply

Google made the announcement to add parts of Android to ChromeOS on June 12, 2024. These changes, while promising, suggest that the company is breaking down the long-standing separation between Android and the rest of its ecosystem. 

To continue rolling out new Google AI features to users at a faster and even larger scale, we’ll be embracing portions of the Android stack, like the Android Linux kernel and Android frameworks, as part of the foundation of ChromeOS. We already have a strong history of collaboration, with Android apps available on ChromeOS and the start of unifying our Bluetooth stacks as of ChromeOS 122.

Prajakta Gudadhe (Senior Director of Engineering, Google & ChromeOS) and Alexander Kuscher (Senior Director of Product Management, ChromeOS)

In an interview, The Verge asked former Senior Vice President of Devices and Services at Google, Rick Osterloh, if the difference between Google’s hardware (Pixel) and Android was fading. Rick said that Android would continue to stay separate from the hardware. But he made no comment on software. What that tells us is to expect more of Android merging deeply with Google’s other software platforms.

Chrome OS To Switch to Android Kernel - Eventually 4
Image: Google

Speaking of software, many of us thought that Fuchsia could be the operating system that ultimately unifies ChromeOS and Android, replacing both with a single platform. Turns out we were wrong. For clarity, Fuchsia is Google’s experimental OS designed to run on various devices. It does make you wonder what will happen to ChromeOS’ unique features. For one, it heavily focuses on web apps and cloud integration. In comparison, Android apps rely on native code and local storage.

ChromeOS preview
Image: Google

Yes, using the same underlying technology will “simplify the engineering”, according to the Directors. Developers just need to focus their efforts on one platform now instead of two, bringing faster development cycles and more efficient resource allocation. At the same time, merging two different systems could make the code more complicated and inconsistent.

Android-ChromeOS integration won’t affect updates

Chrome OS on a Chromebook sitting on table
Image: Google

The upcoming improvements with an Android-ChromeOS integration include how Chromebooks work with other devices. Currently, Google has designed many accessories for Android devices, and by adopting the OS’s Bluetooth stack, Chromebooks can take advantage of that existing support. Although they haven’t provided a timeline for the transition, the company assures users that it will be seamless. We will continue to receive regular updates and new features. The core aspects of ChromeOS, like its security, look and feel, and management capabilities, will remain intact.

Irene is an experienced writer with four years’ experience in the Tech, E-commerce, and Food niches. She currently writes for Talk Android and Android Police, where she geeks out about the latest innovative practices, solutions, and gadgets. When not writing, Irene embraces her inner couch potato, finding joy in gaming, singing, music, and of course, eating.

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