Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The ChromeOS Freeze

by Tony Thomas

As winter sets in, it appears that the Chromebook platform is in a deep freeze. It is been quite a while since Google announced that the Google Play Store was coming to Chromebooks. To date, only seven models have it and most reviewers see it as a work in progress rather than a finished product.

Rumors have abounded about the so-called “Andromeda” project, which would unify Chrome and Android under a single operating system. However, Google Chrome and Android chief, Hiroshi Lockheimer, has thrown cold water on that theory. He announced that ChromeOS and Android devices would remain separate product streams, sharing some of the same technology, such as Google Assistant.

I was hoping that manufacturers would introduce a number of new models for the holiday shopping season, optimized for Android integration. But, it was not to be. During my trip to a local Best Buy, I found only a handful of older models on display. Bummer.

While Chromebooks are still selling well in the education sector, they seemed to have stalled in the consumer market. Perhaps that is because manufacturers and potential buyers are standing on the sidelines and waiting to see if a new operating system emerges from Google.

Will Chromebooks and ChromeOS re-emerge from the deep freeze in the coming months? Will Google Play be unleashed on all of the Chromebooks on Google’s list? Will more Android-ready Chromebooks emerge from the ice?

We will have to wait and see.