The new appearance of a chrome Android statue at Google's Mountain View campus has prompted speculation that the company is nearing release of Android app support in the Chrome browser, perhaps for launch at Google IO this May. The shiny statue - snapped here by Googler Paul Wilcox - is interesting because it's not huddling up with the usual Android models, representing each iteration of the smartphone and tablet OS, but in Building 45 across the road.
That has led to suggestions that it's a hint for some new functionality Google is developing. According to Mobile Geeks' sources, the dressed-up 'droid is intended to represent an Android runtime for Chrome that Google has had in testing for around six months, and which would free Android apps from mobile devices and put them on the desktop.
It wouldn't be the first time we've seen companies pull Android software from its usual habitat and try to make it palatable for PC and notebook users. BlueStacks, for instance, has been pushing its Android app player system for some time now, allowing titles written for the mobile OS to be run as if native code on Windows and Mac machines.
Google's approach would apparently be slightly different, so the rumors indicate, relying on a new component of the Chrome browser. That would also presumably have an impact on Chromebooks, the low-cost ultraportables based around the cloud and Chrome, and which would suddenly gain thousands of new apps courtesy of an Android hook-up.
Whether that's actually the case, or if Google is simply getting more creative with its window furniture, remains to be seen. We'll know more at Google IO, which begins May 15.