18:42, 26 Sep 2016
As many have been predicting for a while now, mobile and desktop/laptop operating systems are merging more and more and the latest juicy rumour on the subject suggests that Google will debut the so-called Andromeda OS – a mixture of Chrome OS and Android – in late 2017. The news comes via Android Police, citing two “independent and reliable” sources who claim a new Google laptop, known internally as “Bison” but also referred to as the “Pixel 3”, will debut the Andromeda OS software in Q3 of 2017.
AP describes it as “the first brand-new device to showcase Google’s combined Android / Chrome OS ‘Andromeda’ operating system in a laptop form factor.” Allegedly Google’s various teams, in lncluding the Android team, Pixel team, and Chrome OS team, have collaboratively been working on the project for several years already, but only now are little bits of info bubbling to the surface. The report also described the Pixel 3 as a “distinct effort from Google’s current campaign to bring Android apps to Chromebooks,” adding that the Pixel 3 will not be marketed as a Chromebook.
“Android apps on Chrome OS descended from the ARC project, while Andromeda is a much larger, more ambitious initiative that is being pursued via merging Chrome features into Android, not vice versa,” the report explains.
“As such, it would be more accurate to say Bison will run Android than Chrome OS, and could finally be Google’s internal commitment to releasing Andromeda.”
In AP’s usual fashion the report describes confidence levels in the rumour, stating that it is “extremely confident” that the Pixel 3 will run Andromeda one way or the other. It goes on to say that although there are some spec details it seems such things are entirely subject to change at this stage. There’s also the fact that Google has a track record of starting ambitious projects before cancelling them after considerable development time – Google Glass and Project Ara, to name the main two which spring to mind on that subject. And that’s without even touching on the subject of possible delays – Q3 2017, it seems, is a best guess at present, but that too could be modified as time goes on.
In terms of the details then, the report describes the device as being an “ultra-thin laptop” (sub-10mm apparently) with a 12.3in display. Being a hybrid OS device there is of course some possibility of a hybrid form factor similar to the already-released Google Pixel C, which features a detachable keyboard design. However, so far the report only refers to Google having a desire to implement a “tablet mode” in some fashion, but it’s not clear just yet exactly how this will be done.
For the internals, it’s believed we’re looking at an Intel M3 or i5 Core processor with 8-16GB of RAM and 32GB-128GB of storage – obviously there’s a lot of wiggle room between those numbers and it’s not clear if we’re talking about multiple variants or ultimately settling on one within those brackets. Other hardware will include a fingerprint scanner, two USB Type-C ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, built-in sensors, stylus support (allegedly Wacom supported), four microphones (of course voice command friendly), stereo speakers, and a 10-hour battery life. It’ll also feature a glass trackpad with a Haptic feedback engine, and a backlit keyboard.
Reading all that back we were starting to get worried this thing would cost an arm and a leg considering the high launch price tag of the Google Chromebook Pixel, however, the starting price is thought to be $799 (£616).
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