Google's Android-Chrome OS Hybrid Inches Closer to Reality

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After boosting the number of Chrome machines that will be capable of running Android apps last week, reports indicate that Google may be planning to launch a full-fledged version of its "Andromeda" hybrid operating system next year.

The OS, which will be compatible with Chrome and Android apps, will show up on a new laptop that Google could sell by the end of 2017, according to Android Police. The blog cited reliable sources who said the new laptop would join the Pixel lineup, though it wouldn't be marketed as a Chromebook.

Google could unveil such a device at its Oct. 4 event, although it is still approximately one year from release, according to Android Police. Other than its hybrid operating system, its specs are unclear.

The first Andromeda phone is also set for release next year. According to 9to5Google, it will likely be a Huawei Nexus. Together with the laptop, it would form an Andromeda ecosystem that represents the beginnings of a challenge to Microsoft's Continuum, which allows Windows 10 to run on any device. Despite tighter integration between macOS and iOS, Apple does not yet have a true Continuum competitor.

We do know a fair amount about how Andromeda will work, based on Google's announcement last week of what appears to be its precursor: Chrome systems that will also work with Android apps. On Sept. 21, Google released Chrome OS 53.0.2785.129. Its major innovation is the inclusion of a beta version of the Google Play Store, which offers Chrome users the ability to download and run the same apps that are on their tablets and phones.

Not all Chrome systems are compatible with the Play Store, however. Current models include the Acer Chromebook R 11 and the newest Chromebook Pixel. Later this year, Google plans to bring the feature to many more Chromebooks, Chromeboxes, and Chromebases; check out this list for updates.

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