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Google's new laptop could finally signal the triumph of Android over Chrome OS

Google's new laptop could finally signal the triumph of Android over Chrome OS

sundar pinchai

Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Google's Sundar Pinchai

Ever since Google introduced the Android and Chrome OS operating systems several years ago, people have wondered which of the two operating systems would eventually win out and which would fade away.

A new Pixel device, which Google is reportedly set to introduce this week, could be the beginning of the end for Chrome OS.

The new Pixel C, according to a report in Android Police, will run the latest version of Google's Android software.

That would mark the first time that Android has been offered on a Pixel device - the Pixel line of notebooks were introduced as part of the Chromebook family in 2013.

Until now Google has maintained a clear delineation between its two operating systems: The Chrome OS, which is based on Google's Chrome web browser, is for the traditional laptop and PC-like family of Chromebook devices. Android is for lower-powered devices like tablets and smartphones, and increasingly gadgets like watches and TVs.

Converge or displace?

The new Pixel C sounds like more of a hybrid tablet device, in the vein of the Microsoft Surface, according to the Android Police report. It will come with a detachable keyboard. So it's not entirely surprising that it would rely on Android instead of Chrome OS. In fact, it's possible the device won't even include the Chromebook branding, and will simply be called the Pixel C.

Still, Android's expansion into traditional Chromebook territory could represent the first evidence of an eventual shift in Google's OS strategy. Offering a single operating system could simplify developers' jobs of writing apps for Google's products, while expanding the clout of the Google platform in the competition with Apple.

Google executives have acknowledged in the past that Android and Chrome "will likely converge over time." Google united the teams working on the two operating systems under one management structure in 2014.

We'll know more on Tuesday, when Google holds a big press event in which it is expected to unveil the new Pixel C.

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