Showing posts with label OS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label OS. Show all posts

Friday, October 30, 2015

Google to Merge Android With Chrome OS 2017

Wall Street Journal reports that Google works on integrating Chrome OS into Android and will release a unified OS that runs on phones, tablets, laptops and more. "The company plans to unveil its new, single operating system in 2017, but expects to show off an early version next year."

So why kill Chrome OS and switch to Android? Chrome OS has a small desktop MARKET share, while Android is the dominant mobile OS. There are a lot more apps in the Google Play Store than in the Chrome Web Store and Google had a hard time convincing developers to build Chrome apps. Google even ported the Android runtime to Chrome, so that you can run Android apps in Chrome OS.

Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, has recently said that "mobile as a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of as desktop today". Most likely, Google wants to bring Android to the desktop and provide a coherent experience. This solves some of the issues with Chrome OS (the lack of apps, low market share), but brings more challenges (Android is less secure than Chrome OS, it's updated less often, has a more complicated interface, it doesn't have a windowing system, apps aren't optimized for desktop).

I like Chromebooks because they're simple devices that require no maintenance. There are few things you can change, few things that can go wrong. It's easy to share them with other people, you don't have to worry about backups or saving your data.

Pixel C's announcement makes more sense now. It's an Android tablet developed by the Chromebook Pixel team. “We think the Pixel C’s tablet and keyboard experience really unlocks new ways to both play and be productive on one device,” mentioned Google.


Google has a lot of work to do. Android's tablet interface is pretty poor, there's no native multi-window support, Chrome for Android doesn't support extensions, apps and themes. 

Chromebooks were all about the web, but native apps turned out to be more important for users. Better performance, better integration with the operating system, better interface - native apps trumped web apps and Chrome OS couldn't find a way to turn the tide.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Console OS ready to boot Android into PCs, sort of.

Console OS has a dream, one that Samsung and ASUS discovered to be a rather deadly one. It wants to enable fast and easy dual-booting of Windows and Android on a single PC, whether laptop or tablet, while offering the full potential of a regular Android installation. It flew to Kickstarter in search of support, which it found to some extent. Now it is announcing its first big step, making available the first Developer Release for the Android spin and taking it a rather small step closer to its ambitious goal.

Running Android or Android apps on PCs is nothing new, but Console OS markets itself as the real McCoy. Most solutions, like BlueStacks, use emulation. Android-x86 does let you install directly to the machine, but its supported features are not as exhaustive as Console OS' wishlist. That includes the latest Android version (4.4 at the moment), OpenGL ES 3 and OpenGL 4 support, legitimate Google Play Services, and fast switching between Windows and Android.

Console OS DR 1 fulfills the most basic requirements of that goal: getting Android to install on PCs. To be exact, it installs on Intel-based computers. Those on AMD or with AMD or NVIDIA graphics chips can proceed at their own risk. But even with Intel chips its support only goes as far back as the more recent models, like Sandy Bridge for desktops and Bay Trail for Atom's. Even WiFi works only for a limited number of network chips. It's a very small step, but a necessary one.


The DR1 release is available for free but it does require registration. There will be a Pro version in the future that will require a yearly subscription, which is a strange arrangement as far as operating systems go. The developers plan to move up to Android 5.0 soon, probably before the first gold release for end users.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Report: Windows 9 Will Debut as Early as Sept. 30


Windows 9 may be coming even before you begin thinking about a Halloween costume. A new report says Microsoft will give the world a first look at the new version of Windows on Sept. 30 or soon afterward at a press event to announce a developer build of the software.

The Verge reports the date is tentative, but the general timeframe is the end of September/beginning of October. The software will be a "preview" version meant for developers, the report says, so it's unclear if the rumored public beta for Windows 9 would begin at the same time.

Windows 9, which Microsoft has codenamed "Threshold," will revamp Windows to address some key usability criticisms of Windows 8/8.1. For starters, it's bringing back the Start menu (which was "blown out" into the Start screen with Windows 8) and enhancing it with some elements of the "modern" UI. Also, modern Windows apps will be able to run within a window on the Desktop.

In the "rumored but unconfirmed" column, Windows 9 may also do away with the Charms menu, which has proved unpopular with users and developers (just try using the "Share" charm from any modern app). Cortana, the voice assistant on Windows Phone, is also expected to appear in Windows 9, although she may not be in the developer preview that's supposed to launch in the fall.

Representatives for Microsoft declined to comment on the report.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.