The rumors to the effect that Chrome OS would be more or less dead on arrival apparently did not sit well with Google: In a recent set of New York Times interviews, Google execs assured us all that its web-centric operating system would be ready for prime time by the end of 2010, as would a Google-branded, third party-manufactured netbook powered by Chrome OS.
But where does Android, Google’s already-widely-adopted mobile OS, fit into the equation? Even Google says it isn’t quite sure:
Google says it will become clearer by the end of the year, when the company will introduce to the public a lightweight netbook computer that runs Chrome. Though Google declined to give details of the device, it is expected to be manufactured by another company and branded by Google, similar to the way Google released its Nexus phone, which runs on Android.
Google has high hopes for Chrome, and as the company weathers criticism for relying too much on search advertising for revenue, its executives have been describing Chrome as one of Google’s new businesses with huge potential.
Google’s hugely successful Android operating system for mobile phones and tablets adds a level to the confusion. Chrome and Android are built by separate Google teams and the company says there is no conflict between the two. But its executives acknowledge they are not entirely sure how the two will coexist.
“We don’t want to call the question and say this one does one thing, this one does another,” said Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive. “So far the model seems to be the Android solution is particularly optimized for things that involve touch in some form and Chrome OS appears to be for keyboard-based solutions.”
Some analysts have expressed skepticism, however, on the basis that the kind of computing that Chrome OS is built for may already be on its way out by the time the operating system becomes widespread; it’s almost conventional wisdom now that mobile computing and tablets are the future, whereas laptops and desktops are on the way out.
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