There are rumors of a hybrid OS from Google called Andromeda – which is, as we understand, a mash-up of Android and Chrome OS. The ultimate goal, it seems, is to create an OS that will be more versatile than either element, and will be better suited for 2-in-1 laptop/tablet hybrids like the unfortunate Pixel C. In fact, it is probably the lackluster performance of the Pixel C that pushed Google to look for a solution. Andromeda, as sources say, is apparently being tested with the HTC-made Nexus 9 tablet at the moment.
A little bit of digging in Android Nougat AOSP version (Android Open Source Project) shows some evidences pointing to the reality of Andromeda. A file in the code called “SurfaceCompositionTest.java” alludes to Andromeda through testing of graphics performance. It seems like Andromeda will require better graphics performance – rated by the test as 8.0 or better – while Android just needs devices that can go 4.0.
It seems that the Nexus 9 barely fits that requirement, with a graphics performance level of 8.8, and for this reason, Google is testing Andromeda with the tablet. We don’t know what the expected outcome will be, also taking into consideration that the Pixel C has much better hardware.
An interesting discovery in the code is that the free-form windows feature that everyone was expecting in Nougat (but didn’t get), is seemingly available in Andromeda. This is a big hint that the new hybrid OS is targeted for devices with bigger screen real estate, like tablets and 2-in-1 devices.