Chrome OS and Android may soon be one and the same.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Google for the past two years has been working on merging Chrome OS, the company's operating system that powers laptops known as Chromebooks, and Android, the ubiquitous mobile operating system that powers smartphones and tablets. The merged operating system would be known as Android, killing off the Chrome OS branding that first debuted in 2009.
Google plans to release this unified operating system in 2017, but may demonstrate an early version of it next year.
Merging the two operating systems would, for example, bring Android's 1.6 million apps (according to research firm Statisa) to laptops that formerly ran Chrome OS—an enticing possibility for app developers looking to reach the widest number of potential users as possible. It's a strategy also being pursued by Microsoft, which is encouraging developers to create "universal" apps that run on PCs, mobile devices, and the Xbox One with only a few minor tweaks.
Apple, for its part, is pursuing the exact opposite strategy, keeping iOS and OS X as distinct entities. It was only last month that Apple CEO Tim Cook said attempting to merge mobile and desktop operating systems "subtracts from both, and you don't get the best experience from either."
Unsurprisingly, Google has not commented publicly on the report.