Last fall, rumors surfaced that Google was working on an Android and Chrome OS “merger” or sorts that would launch on a convertible laptop in late 2017. However, with a pronouncement last month that Google has ‘no plans’ to manufacture laptops, it has been widely assumed that “Andromeda” might never materialize.

Despite this, we have just come across some older references to Andromeda in the AOSP that we don’t think anyone has noticed up to this point. Dated from 2015 and 2016, these entries were for some reason not visible in any of our previous (and ongoing) searches of AOSP for Andromeda terms. Either that or we just missed them somehow.

Before we take a look at these, it’s worth noting that we’re mentioning them just for the sake of discussion. We don’t have any real information on what they might mean beyond what we see in front of us, and it’s more than possible that “Andromeda” is no longer even an active project at Google. If nothing else, these are just further evidence that Andromeda was, at the very least, a thing.

The first reference from September 2015 seems to make reference to how “Andromeda” would adopt the same behavior as Chrome OS for organizing app icons in a dock. In Chrome OS, newly opened apps appear to the right of icons that have been previously pinned to the dock for quick access.

Keeping pinned apps to the left from unpinned ones.

This is how it was in CrOS, and we just keep it in Andromeda.

Added code to keep this predicate on dragging and pinning/unpinning via menu.

Of course, Android in its current iteration, regardless of form factor, has no ‘dock’ interface, just the multitasking view.

A second entry from early 2016 — Google shows this one as cached back in January 2017, so perhaps we just missed this one before — makes notes of how a recent change to the camera system caused a “seed/andromeda build” to break.

Revert “Camera: add NDK camera library”

This reverts commit 153005787de03c67cfc8c4cb6e7c43e0b6673d02.

Breaking seed/andromeda build now. Investigating.

Last fall we reported that Andromeda was being tested on the Nexus 9, and AOSP references seemed to confirm that was indeed the case. A source familiar with the matter corroborated that report as well. Meanwhile, other rumors noted a smart notification system that syncs between devices as one possible feature for the OS.

Beyond being a new flavor of Android that seems to pull in some functionality of both Android and Chrome OS, it is still unclear what exactly Andromeda is, or whether it will ever come to fruition. In the meantime, it seems Google is going full speed ahead toward a release of Android O.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: