Google’s been in the news a lot lately. The company launched a slew of hardware products
that will take on everybody from Apple to Amazon at their own niches. But the most significant piece of Google hardware in the offing is one that they haven’t officially revealed yet – the Pixel 3 laptop, which will run Google Andromeda OS, a hybrid operating system that merges the best of Chrome OS and Android.
While rumours of Google attempting to crossbreed their desktop and mobile operating systems have been around for years now, they’ve reached fever pitch lately, with several high-profile publications tipping an imminent launch of a touch-enabled convertible laptop powered by Google Andromeda OS. The rumour mill predicts that the Pixel 3 will be a 12.3-inch convertible laptop with an Intel m3 or i5 Core processor with 32 or 128GB of storage and 8 or 16GB of RAM. It will also supposedly feature two USB-C ports, a 3.5mm jack, a fingerprint sensor, stereo speakers, quad microphones, a backlit keyboard, a glass trackpad and Wacom stylus support.
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While the laptop is a fairly standard offering that's similar to the numerous 2-in-1s out there today, the OS that it will run has the potential to be truly revolutionary.
If you follow technology news, you must’ve heard tell of the post-PC era. The demise and eventual replacement of the personal computer has been heralded for a good half-decade now, but the primary productivity tool in most people’s lives is still very much the same device that they played Dangerous Dave on back in the 90s.
The soothsayers aren’t entirely wrong. While the hardware of the desktop PC (and its more outdoorsy cousin, the laptop) has aged remarkably well, its software is crying out for a total overhaul. The proliferation of Internet-powered apps and services has completely changed the way we use computing devices and traditional desktop environments are fast becoming irrelevant shells that merely represent a gateway to a browser of your choice.
Windows and MacOS, the two dominant operating systems have been attempting to reinvent themselves but that process has left them with more of an identity crisis than any great sense of accomplishment. Google’s ChromeOS was an interesting experiment in creating an operating system designed for that post-PC generation that lived inside their browsers. Unfortunately, it had an Achilles heel the size of the Eiffel Tower. Instead of taking advantage of the plethora of mobile apps that already allowed people to do things that traditional computers didn’t do, Google forced ChromeOS users to rely on a weak ecosystem of web apps that had to be created from the ground up. Web apps are the difficult middle child that nobody ever loved and will always be a real effort to interact with, however much the parent, in this case, Google, might deny it.
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So, Chromebooks became synonymous with cheap, niche devices that offered reduced functionality and the post-PC revolution remained a paper tiger.
Andromeda (a portmanteau of the words Android and Chrome) could right those wrongs by bringing Android’s wealth of apps and games on a traditional computer. Of course, bringing a mobile OS to a desktop environment isn’t exactly straightforward and Google will have to get a lot of little things right in order to avoid turning it into some sort of Frankenstein project which consists of weird parts welded together.
If it does get a sufficient amount of polish on it before its rumoured end-of-year release date though, we could be looking at a device that can crunch Word docs and spreadsheets as comfortably as it can play games and stream media. And all of this would be accomplished through a familiar app-based interface that we’ve already come to accept as our post-PC future.
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