Google may or may not have another surprise in store for both Android and Chrome OS fans this coming October 4th. But whether it is revealed together with the HTC-made Pixel smartphones or not, the growing evidence of the Andromeda OS’ existence is enough to generate both excitement and worry. As has been reported before, Andromeda is allegedly the much rumored and prophesied fusion of Android and Chrome OS, and apparently it’s already being tested on a Nexus 9, coincidentally also made by HTC.
The Nexus 9 is already two years old and practically discontinued, so take that “fact” with a grain of salt. If anything, it does hint that Andromeda isn’t just a moonshot project but one that already has a few traces of it even in Android 7.0 Nougat. In fact, Android code already mentions “Andromeda” several times.
One of the places where the name is used is in the SurfaceCompositionTest.java, which is code that tests graphics performance of devices. Based on the code, Android has a minimum requirement of 4.0, while Andromeda requires an 8.0. Why it needs a higher score is still a mystery, but the Nexus 9 at least manages to pass, barely with 8.8.
Andromeda is again mentioned in SurfaceCompitionMeasuringActivity.java, where there is code for detecting Andromeda devices. It does so by determining if the device has the hidden free-form windows feature. This would hint that such devices would be, at least, tablets and 2-in-1 convertibles.
How Andromeda would combine Android and Chrome OS is still a matter of conjecture, but Google itself seems to already be setting the stage for such a combination. It has added Android app support for Chrome OS and has adapted Chrome OS’ seamless updates on Android. It might, however, be still too early in the game for Google to make an official announcement for something that would shake both platforms to their cores.