Saturday, July 18, 2009

Android Versus Chrome OS

It's been a week and still, I don't get why Google decided Chrome OS is the way to go instead of putting more into Android.

But today, I think I finally learned why. The future isn't Android. The future is still the Web. Android is just something to hold things over until the Web finally takes over. And perhaps, Palm might have it right with its WebOS that relies heavily on the Web and HTML codes.

Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering, used his 5 minutes of fame to state that app stores like the insanely popular iTunes app store will go the way of the dinosaurs as webapps become more and more robust and useful.

The reasons he offered does make a lot of sense. There are quite a few mobile platforms out there and Google can't support all of them. So if an 800-pound you know can do it, what hope do the little guys have?

Hence, robust and powerful browsers in the next few years. That's what. And eventually, they will supplement the app stores as folks start to develop for it, instead of four or five different platforms. Develop for one, the Web browser, and it'll work for nearly all mobile platforms.

So, where does that leave Android? Well, folks, looks like we've been had. Android is just to hold things over until Chrome OS is ready for prime time or whatever else that Chome OS will morph into. Android is like to remain a priority for Google in the next couple of years. Google can't well tell its Android partners that it's got a new toy to play with and abandon it.

Plus, it's a good hedge just in case the webapp takeover doesn't happen in the time frame Google hopes.

Like I said at the top, I don't get Chrome OS. If it's just a browser, what's the OS that supports it? Well, we know it's Linux, just like Android is. The key implementation is the Web browser. In Google's case, it is Webkit, the open-source browser that powers Android, Chrome, Safari, iPhone's Safari, Palm, and some of Nokia's Web browsers. If it works on Webkit, it'll work on all the mentioned platforms.

Hope to gain more traction, Gundotra invoked Steve Jobs when he told developers to "build for the web" when the iPhone first came on the scene. Perhaps, Jobs was right but he was a few years ahead of the times.

I have to say that Pre's WebOS is pretty sweet and if anything Google's working on is even close, I am excited. More so if it runs on top of Android.

So, is this like Android versus Chrome OS as the title of this post states? Too early to tell. It does feel like Android is no longer the number one mobile priority for Google but I am still excited about webapps and cloud computing.

Note: Apple has a directory for webapps that it first ask developers to create. It is still updated and perhaps this is the reason. Look there for useful apps. Since Android devices, iPhone, and Pre all use Webkit as its underlying technology for browsing, those webapps will work for all these devices.

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