ChromeOS on Pixel 8 is sadly just a proof of concept

ChromeOS computer shot jpg.webp

Recently news broke that Google could bring ChromeOS to the Pixel 8. Android Authority learned that Google was working on a project called Ferrochrome. Ferrochrome was an OS based on Chromium OS that was designed to run virtually on top of Android. While this sounds exciting, Google has confirmed that ChromeOS on Pixel 8 is just a proof of concept.

Google reportedly demoed ChromeOS running on a Pixel 8 at a private event with close industry partners. Android Authority’s Mishaal Rahman sat with top officials from the Android team, like David Burke and Sameer Samat at Google I/O 2024. During the interview, He asked them about Google’s future plans for the Ferrochrome project.

ChromeOS can run on a virtual machine on devices like the Pixel 8

This interview revealed how capable Android devices are of virtualization. Ferrochrome uses the Android Virtualization Framework (AVF) introduced in Android 13. This framework provides a private and isolated environment for sensitive code to run. AVF is only supported on ARM64 devices like the Pixel 8. Android 15 improves AVF with better support for running operating systems with GPU acceleration. To take the improved AVF for a test drive, Google chose its other operating system, ChromeOS.

Android Police reports that the Google team wanted to see what AVF was capable of and what interesting challenges would arise from running Ferrochrome on Android devices. Unfortunately, Google has not revealed its future plans for the Ferrochrome project. It may develop into a fully-fledged feature with support from Google hardware partners. Or, it may join a host of other fun experiments by Google in the graveyard.

If you want something like ChromeOS on Android, your only option is Samsung DeX

The closest alternative we have to Ferrochrome is Samsung DeX. DeX is Samsung’s vision of a ‘desktop mode’ for Android devices. The issue is that, unlike Ferrochrome, DeX is not a different operating system. It just provides a larger display to run apps and even though you’re on a bigger display, you are still limited by the fact that the apps you’re running are made for mobile. This means they are less capable than their desktop companions.