With the news that Google is planning to merge Android with ChromeOS, its nearest approach to a desktop OS, now might seem an odd time to develop a fork of Android optimized for desktops. But that’s just what Chinese chip manufacturer Rockchip has done. According to a report from Arm Devices, based on a site visit video, the new OS variant will have multitasking functionality and multiple window support, as well as easy switching between OSs.
The implementation looks pretty attractive in the video. That said, does Android really need a new version, when its parent is cutting off the only main one? Other interpretations of the Android/Chrome merger are that Android will now go head to head with Windows and iOS. Multiple windows and multitasking may be useful add-ons to the basic OS, but how likely is Google to source those from Rockchip? Other features, such as what looks like a Windows-style launch menu and pen support, are neither unique to Rockchip’s OS nor especially welcome. With Microsoft itself spending so much time and money trying to make Windows less like a desktop OS, is there any sense anyone else doing the reverse with Android?
That said, Rockchip chips are already in a great many cheap devices out of China. The manufacturer may be able to continue pushing its OS version into machines regardless.