Has Google just solved Android's fragmentation problem?

Ian Scales
By Ian Scales

Jul 15, 2016

via Flickr © Family O'Abé (CC BY 2.0)

via Flickr © Family O'Abé (CC BY 2.0)

You remember the oft-mentioned Android problem of OS fragmentation. Too many versions out there, not all Android phone software being transfused with fresh up-to-date versions of the OS, and many Android owners not knowing (or caring) what version of the OS they have installed. It wasn’t supposed to be that way and it's been a long-standing problem, though not one that seems to have dented Android’s popularity in the sales department…  yet.

As an enthusiastic Chromebook user I’m watching impatiently for the right new model to arrive so I can snap it up. This time around I’ll be needing at least 4 Gig of memory (more if it’s available) more ports (Ethernet would be nice) and, most importantly, I want a model that’s been designed with Android in mind, because earlier this year Google announced that it was equipping Chrome OS so that it could run, unchanged, Android apps. That’s an exciting prospect.

So it would be nice if my next Chromebook had GPS so I could use it as a viable satnav and use all sorts of geo equipped Android apps. I would also consider buying built-in LTE so that, when out and about, I wouldn’t have to tether my smartphone or rely on WiFi. In fact, if it had LTE, perhaps I wouldn’t need a smartphone. Perhaps I could make calls on the Chromebook… somehow. How about a bluetooth linked handset to solve that problem?  Or...

What if Google (or a partner) produced a phablet which ran Chrome OS?


Consider. As any user will tell you perhaps the greatest aspect of going Chromebook - the aspect that puts all the little niggles into perspective - is the auto-update thing. In fact Google probably shouldn’t have called the underpinning ‘Chrome OS’ as that just reminds you that it actually has one. On a day-to-day, month-by-month basis the fact that there is such a thing as an OS just doesn’t occur. When I close down (admittedly quite rarely) I know (not that I ever think about it)  that the latest build will be up and running next time she fires up (which doesn’t take more than a few seconds anyway).

And unlike all other personal computing environments bar none (and I’ve experienced quite a few over 35 years) nothing ever goes wrong OS-wise. Never.

So here’s the theory. Hasn’t Google, by building Android right into Chrome OS - the OS that is continually updated without any user intervention - potentially solved its fragmentation problem? This will be Android as we haven’t yet come to know it - constantly updated with new builds, all by Google and, if it behaves as well as Chrome OS has so far, highly reliable.

Perhaps the next Nexus (or the one after that) will be a phone or tablet running Chrome OS with a touch screen (of course) and a keyboard facility should you want to use it like a computer rather than a tablet. Don’t forget, if I’m right, you probably read it here first. If not… well, I never wrote any such thing.

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