The announcement by Google last March that Sundar Pichai was going to absorb Andy Rubin’s job was the watershed moment that led me to believe that 2013 will be the year when the company finally and officially commits to merging its two operating systems, Chrome OS and Android.
Sergey Brin, Google’ co-founder, had already confirmed back in November 2009 (that’s 42 months ago) that the two would merge saying back then that would make sense to merge both of them. So the final outcome was never to be doubted, the only persistent question was only a matter of finding when it would take place.
And nearly four years ago, I did predict that Google would merge Chrome OS and Android because it simply makes so much more commercial sense.
The convergence between Chrome OS and Android is becoming obvious with a new breed of devices, Androidbook, expected to compete with Chromebooks while HDMI dongles running on Android are already rivalling more expensive Chrome OS-based set top boxes.
There’s also the growing commercial popularity of hybrid devices like the Asus Transformer Pad, a tablet that transforms into an ultra-portable laptop by adding a keyboard docking station.
I believe that the race is already on to see who will be the first company to release a unified operating system, the pipeline dream of having one OS to rule all platforms (mobile, desktop etc). Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8? Mac OS X and iOS or Chrome and Android. The winner will have a head start to take on the fast-growing market of hybrid devices that cross the line between mobile and everything else.