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Android Headliner: No Chrome OS At IO15 & What Does It Mean?

June 8, 2015 - Written By John Anon

Google’s I/O event is all things Google. However, that does not automatically mean that all things Google will make an appearance. In fact, for a lot of consumers, this year’s event might be more remembered for all the things that did not show up at the event. For instance, those who were waiting on details about Chrome OS or Chromebooks will be more than aware, that there was no Chrome OS news at all. Like some of the other Google bits, Chrome OS was a complete no-show which was a little disappointing for the platform and its users. Not forgetting, this was on the back of reports which emerged in the days leading up to the event suggesting Chromebooks and Chrome OS would certainly be on the agenda.

The rumors, in particular, referred to a number of 2-in-1 devices which were due to land. These included two which were specifically said to be Google-branded. Now, Google is generally known to be a company who does not particularly like unveiling their own hardware at I/O. Instead, preferring the option to hold on until the Fall rolls around. However, as a number of these were from third-party manufacturers, it was believed that Google might have taken the opportunity to pay the platform some mind and reference them in some way. Sadly, that was not to be the case. So is there any takeaway from the lack of Chrome OS news this year? Well, the short of it is yes. If there was anything amazing coming down the wire for the platform, then presumably it would have made an appearance. As such, it seems unlikely there will be any major updating going on. Likewise, and in spite of the rumors, there is also unlikely to be any major hardware releases, beyond what had already been announced.

In terms of what should have been unveiled at the event, Google probably should have addressed the ongoing ability to port android apps over to Chrome OS. This has been one of the platform’s major talking points of the last year and has generated a number of headlines since then. Therefore, it would have been perfect timing to highlight and show off how far they have come in bringing together android and Chrome. As there was no update provided, presumably, little (notable) progress has been made.

Instead, it seems Google is going to continue its drip-feed approach to Chrome OS, with slight and minor updates rolling out periodically which improve the end-user experience. If you compare Chrome OS to this time last year, the development of the platform has improved dramatically and it is now so much more feature rich and vivid. Which is why Chromebooks and Chrome OS devices are reported to be continually selling more, year-on-year. A trend which is also expected to continue going forward. But without any major breaking announcements or updates en route, it raises the concern of whether the platform is beginning to stagnate a little? Or does this represent that maybe Google do not see the platform as big enough to warrant a place on stage anymore? Yes, it is increasing in sales, but compared to the likes of android, only marginally. Maybe, Google view the number of sales over the last year as disappointing (by their standards)?

Then again, if there was no major update coming to the end-user experience, as this is essentially a developer conference, it could have also been argued that Google should have at least been unveiling its plans for the future and looking to get developers on board to stamp out any stagnation that may be building and embrace the next wave of changes that are inbound. However, this again did not seem to be the case. In fact, in spite of what seems to be a clear ignoring of Chrome OS and Chromebooks at this year’s event, it is probably much more likely that Google is still extremely focused on developing the platform in the future and they do 100% see the value in the platform. The truth of the matter is probably far more simple than we would like to think and like so many other areas and platforms that did not get a mention this year, Google just did not have much to say about Chrome OS and Chromebooks, unfortunately.