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article imageGoogle's building a new operating system called 'Andromeda'

By James Walker     Sep 27, 2016 in Technology
Google is building a new operating system called "Andromeda" that will see Android and Chrome OS merged together. According to a new report, the company is planning a laptop and tablet to run the new OS, potentially designed as a next-generation platform.
Android Police reported yesterday that Google will launch a new Pixel-branded laptop in Q3 2017. Currently known as "Bison" but likely to be named the Pixel 3, the device will be the first brand-new product to run the company's upcoming Andromeda operating system.
Recently, much has been heard about Andromeda, an OS which will result in Google's two existing platforms being blended together. After previously denying it has plans to merge Android and Chrome OS, multiple reports are now stating that Google is aiming to do exactly that.
Details on the project remain scarce and Google's wider intentions are unclear. However, it looks as though Google is working to more tightly integrate its various device families, currently powered by different operating systems. It has suggested in the past it wants more control over its ecosystem. Building a new platform from the ground-up could be a better way to achieve that than imposing restrictions on the use of Android.
It looks as though Google wants to create something similar to what Microsoft has built with Windows 10. Windows 10 is capable of running on virtually any device, from 4-inch phones to 80-inch TVs. Google currently has Android for smartphones and tablets and Chrome OS for PCs. They are very different operating systems and there's no easy route to get either running on a new family of hardware. Assuming Google does follow Microsoft's "one OS" model, that would leave just Apple pursuing dedicated platforms for each hardware family.
There's good reason to suspect that major change is coming, judging by a recent tweet from Google's Hiroshi Lockheimer. Lockheimer, the current leader of Android and Chrome OS, hinted that October 4, the date of Google's anticipated press event next week, will prove to be a pivotal moment for the company.
"We announced the 1st version of Android 8 years ago today," Lockheimer wrote. "I have a feeling 8 years from now we'll be talking about Oct 4, 2016."
Andromeda will run on a range of devices, including the Pixel laptop to be unveiled next year. The device will reportedly be an "ultra-thin laptop with a 12.3-inch display." Powered by an as-yet unconfirmed but undoubtedly high-end Intel processor, the laptop will be a flagship convertible device. Google is keen for it to have a tablet mode, although how it will function is currently known. It could use a 360-degree hinge mechanism, or detach like Microsoft's Surface Book.
After Android Police published its report, 9to5Google revealed details of another Andromeda-powered device. Huawei is said to be building a 7-inch Nexus-branded tablet which could launch as early as next month, perhaps as a developer-focused release to encourage interest in Andromeda. It will have an Intel m3 or i5 processor, up to 128GB of storage and 8GB or 16GB of RAM. As tablets go, this will be an exceptionally powerful machine. It will retail for around $800.
The report claims that the device will indeed wear Nexus branding, despite widespread rumours from the past several months predicting the imminent demise of the name. According to 9to5Google, "multiple sources" have confirmed Nexus is the currently intended branding. That suggests the name will make the transition from Android to Andromeda.
As ever with leaks and rumours, these reports cannot be verified or confirmed. With multiple sources writing the same thing, it appears as though "Bison," the Huawei 7-inch Nexus and Andromeda are all real though. How they'll link together remains to be seen.
With the Pixel 3 reportedly a year away, much could change before that device sees the light of day. The new Nexus and Andromeda are expected to be revealed as early as next week though. Google is likely to unveil new smartphones, its own Wi-Fi router and now a new operating system at its October 4 press event.
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