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article imageGoogle keen to deny Chrome OS rumours, platform 'is here to stay'

By James Walker     Nov 3, 2015 in Technology
Google has publicly debunked recent theories that it will kill off its Chrome OS cloud operating system by publishing a blog post emphatically saying the platform is going nowhere. It was thought Chrome OS may merge with Android next year.
Over the past few days, several technology news websites, including Digital Journal, published articles based on a Wall Street Journal report claiming Google is planning to fold Chrome OS into Android by 2017, killing the Chromebook line of portable laptops in the process. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google's senior vice president of Android, Chrome OS and Chromecast development, tweeted to say the company is "very committed" to Chrome OS at the time and has now penned a lengthy blog post in which he denies the reports are true and outlines Google's long-term plans for the operating system.
Describing the news that has rapidly circulated online as "confusion" and "speculation," Lockheimer says the company is "working on ways to bring together the best of both operating systems (Chrome OS and Android)" but "there's no plan to phase out Chrome OS."
The post says "dozens" of new Chromebooks will become available during 2016 alongside other forms of Chrome OS device. Google highlighted the upcoming launch of the $85 Asus Chromebit, an HDMI dongle that turns any display into a Chrome OS computer, as an exciting evolution of the platform but also noted the work it is doing in budget computing with the launch of devices like the $149 entry-level Chromebook.
The support isn't just heading to the hardware division though, as the company is keen to point out that Chrome OS will be receiving guaranteed updates for five years. Lockheimer outlined some of what is coming to users next year, which includes improved performance and a refresh of the visual interface based on the Material Design theme used in Android.
Google says it's "proud" that Chromebooks are "continually listed" under the best-selling computers category on, so axing the project would be seen as counterintuitive internally. It says over 30,000 new Chromebooks are activated in U.S. schools alone every day, making the ultra-portable cloud-based laptops the most popular devices for use in education.
Lockheimer wrote: "With the launch of Chrome OS six years ago, we set out to make computers better - faster, simpler and more secure - for everyone. We've since seen that vision come to life in classrooms, offices and homes around the world."
The company is clearly adamant that Chrome OS is going nowhere. The post seems to be intended to reassure consumers who may be put off purchasing a new device after hearing rumours that the software it runs could be axed completely in just a few years.
For many tech analysts, it is easy to believe that a merge with Android could be coming as Google's cloud-computing vision hasn't yet caught on with the majority of consumers, most of whom require more power than a Chromebook can offer. The original report from the Wall Street Journal was quickly corroborated by other sources including Recode and Business Insider that each added its own insight into the story, creating a pool of evidence suggesting Google is working behind-the-scenes to merge Chrome OS with Android and rebrand the Chromebook range.
It was speculated that the launch of the Pixel C Android tablet in September was the first indication of this work as it is the only large-screen Google device to date that runs Android instead of Chrome OS. Now, it is harder to tell where the truth of the matter lies but Google certainly seems desperate to reaffirm its commitment to the platform in the mid-term at least.
More about Google, Chrome, chromeos, Chromebook, Laptop
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