SAN FRANCISCO -- At this year's Google I/O developer's conference, a promise was made: Chrome on Android will start feeling more like Chrome on the desktop.
This is as it should be.
I've never understood why Chrome and Android function as separate environments. They're two sides of the same coin; Chrome handles superior cloud-computing and Web use, and Android handles the app-based, offline world: documents, physical media, and files. Chrome has excellent touch-pad and keyboard support, and Android has touch. The two can use each other.
Actually, the lines are already blurring: the Pixel has a touch screen, and there are Android tablets with touch pads and keyboards. The more important work comes under the hood, though. What I want to see is a device like those that are all over the Windows 8 landscape: an excellent tablet/laptop hybrid that's Android and Chrome, all in one.
We're close, but we're not there yet. Microsoft has to be afraid of this proposition: it could beat Windows 8 at its own game.
Google hasn't formally announced that killer future product at Google I/O -- at least, not yet -- but giving out Chromebook Pixels to attendees is a clear message: the next development push is to Chrome and Chrome with touch. Demonstrations of Chrome working across multiple screens via a racing-game demo -- easily, one of the most exciting moments of the keynote -- show where this type of computing could go next. After that, maybe Android and Chrome will be well on their way to being one coherent ecosystem. It'll be a great moment when they are.
Or, perhaps we're already there. If Chrome really starts feeling the same on Android as it does on Chrome OS, then new devices won't be needed. They're already in everyone's homes. They just need to be knitted together.