Google plans MacBook rival with new ‘Andromeda’ OS

By

Chromebook Pixel
Google's next Pixel could be much more exciting.
Photo: Google

Google is expected to announce to new Pixel phones that will step up Android’s fight against the iPhone next month — and its assault on Apple won’t stop there.

According to a new report, the company is also planning a Pixel laptop powered by a new “Andromeda” operating system that will do battle with the MacBook. It could also steal some of its features, including the pressure-sensitive trackpad.

Recent reports have revealed that Google has been making big plans to tackle Apple’s most popular devices in recent years. Its main focus seems to be new smartphones that make Android look just as appealing as iOS — but it has other ideas, too.

 Android Police reports that Google is planning a new Pixel-branded laptop that’s scheduled to make its debut in Q3 2017. It won’t run Android or Chrome OS, but rather a new operating system called “Andromeda” that combines the two.

The report makes it clear that Andromeda “is a completely distinct effort from Google’s current campaign to bring Android apps to Chromebooks.” It is “a much larger, more ambitious initiative” focused on bringing Chrome features to Android — not the other way around.

As for the laptop itself, codenamed “Bison” internally, it is expected to pack a 12.3-inch display with a tablet mode. The “ultra-thin” machine will reportedly be powered by an Intel M3 processor like Apple’s 12-inch MacBook, or an Intel Core i5.

Bison is also expected to have 32GB or 128GB of internal storage, and 8GB or 16GB of RAM. Other features could include a fingerprint scanner, two USB-C ports, a headphone jack, stereo speakers, stylus support, and a battery that lasts around 10 hours.

Like Apple’s notebooks, Bison will reportedly offer a backlit keyboard and a glass trackpad that can detect force and uses haptic feedback to simulate clicks. “Google plans to fit all of this in a form factor under 10mm in thickness,” the report continues.

Google doesn’t just want to take on the MacBook with Bison, but also Microsoft’s Surface devices — hence the tablet mode and support for styluses. It’s thought Bison is the reason why we’re yet to see a new Chromebook Pixel for 2016.

Because Bison is so far off, Android Police warns that Google’s plans could still change — or be scrapped completely. However, there is a chance we could get a teaser of Andromeda OS during the company’s October 4 event, which would make them somewhat more concrete.