Brighthand Bytes

Dec 14 2010   9:55AM GMT

Google’s Chrome OS Is Doomed



Posted by: Ed Hardy
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Google did a “soft launch” of its Chrome OS last week by sending out laptops running it to journalists and beta testers (learn more). Like everything Google does, this has drawn a great deal of attention from the press and a certain amount from the public, but I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that this operating system isn’t going to be around in a year or so.

I’m not saying this because I think there’s anything wrong with the Chrome OS. Instead, there just isn’t any need for it.

The Times They are a Changin’
The Chrome OS was announced back in 2009, when netbooks were all the rage, so Google created a simple operating system for this class of cheap laptops.

Since then, demand for netbooks has all but dried up. Interest has switched to tablets, as people see their advantages, especially their portability and long battery life.

There are those who are already considering the possibility of using the Chrome OS on tablets, but Google already has a very popular operating system that companies are using to power tablets: the
Android OS.

A Better Option
Admittedly, at this point the Android OS isn’t an ideal fit for a tablet computer — it’s lack of support for very high-resolution screens is a stumbling block. But unconfirmed reports say the next version of this operating system (code-named Honeycomb) is going to include features tablet makers are asking for, such as support for resolutions higher than WVGA. And companies like Samsung have already found work-arounds for this issue.

Developers by the thousand have embraced Android, while the Chrome OS is just getting off the ground. I see no reason for serious developers to spend time and money working Chrome apps when they’d get
a better investment from creating Android ones.

And the same is true of Google. Tablet users, as well as smartphone users, would be better off if this company put all its efforts behind a single operating system instead of two very similar ones.

It’s Inevitable
It seems obvious to me that the Chrome OS is going to either be dropped or merged in to the Android OS at some point,

And I’m not the only one who believes this: Paul Buchheit, the man behind Gmail before going of to found FriendFeed, said today, “Chrome OS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android.”

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