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An Android and Chrome OS merger may be in the works

Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
If you thought Google’s October 4 event — where the firm is rumored to launch two smartphones, Google Home, Daydream VR, Chromecast Ultra, and Wi-Fi routers — wasn’t packed enough, think again. The long-rumored Android and Chrome OS merger may debut the same day, according to Android Police.

Andromeda is the rumored code name for the OS, and Android Police says it has been sitting on a rumor that Google may demo the OS in October. What made the company share it now? A tweet from Hiroshi Lockheimer, senior vice president of Android, Chrome OS, and Google Play at Google.

We announced the 1st version of Android 8 years ago today. I have a feeling 8 years from now we'll be talking about Oct 4, 2016.

— Hiroshi Lockheimer (@lockheimer) September 24, 2016

“We announced the 1st version of Android 8 years ago today,” he says in the tweet. “I have a feeling 8 years from now we’ll be talking about Oct. 4, 2016.”

While all the aforementioned devices are major products that mark a major hardware push from the country, an Android and Chome OS merger would take the cake as the biggest announcement to come from the event. The other products are exactly that — products. Andromeda, though, may change the way we interact with Android, from our phones to our laptops and desktops.

Google tells Digital Trends it does not comment on rumors and speculation. Android Police also does not provide a source for their claim, and they seem to put a lot of faith behind Lockheimer’s tweet, so take this information with a grain of salt.

This year, Google Play Store landed on Chromebooks. In 2015, sources told the Wall Street Journal that Google was going to merge the two operating systems, but a final version would not be available until 2017. Still, the report said we would see the first look in 2016.

Since Google’s October 4 event, information has continued to trickle out providing more hints and allegations about Andromeda, 9to5Google reports. For example, the same tipster that provided to the publication prior to the October event has indicated that two “major OEM’s” are in the process of creating Andromeda devices via access to the merged operating system’s development kits. Initial hardware could come as soon as the second half of 2017.

Furthermore, according to the tipster, Android 8 and Andromeda are currently being merged, although Android 7.X updates will proceed independently of Andromeda. Andromeda-specific features include the same kind of notification syncing between Android devices that Microsoft is providing between Windows 10 and Android devices, only via associated Google accounts. Google is allegedly planning to enhance the feature by using some machine intelligence to only display notifications on a device that is actually in use.

The recent leaks seem to point to a more significant Google event in 2017, where not only an Andromeda-enhanced Android 8 could be announced but also the Pixel 3 laptop that has been hinted at in the past few months. Huawei could also jump on the Andromeda bandwagon with a Nexus tablet.

Google has been relatively quiet over the last few years, with Android receiving relatively tepid updates and the biggest hardware news being the Google-branded Pixel smartphones and demise of the Nexus smartphone program. It is looking like 2017, however, could be the year for Google to make a little more noise.

Story originally published in September 2016. Updated on 11-15-2016 by Mark Coppock: Added new Andromeda and Google hardware rumors.

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