I probably don’t really need to rehash the news that the Chromium codebase is showing signs that the Chrome browser is coming to Android devices. From a standards standpoint, doing this makes sense. Google wants to create similar browsing experience regardless of what device a user is accessing the web from, and there had been rumblings that this type of convergence was going to arrive at some point anyways. What’s more interesting is that Android is built for the cheap, energy sipping ARM processor architecture.
That’s a departure from Intel-based devices that Chrome OS run off of right now. And while the Atom series f processors do a good job, my experience with them in the first generation Chromebooks can leave room for more processing muscle. While having a few tabs open on a Chromebook is really not that big of a deal, it becomes much more problematic when you try to run, say, Pandora, YouTube and several Google Apps instances all at once.
This can be a problem, especially for companies that are interested in signing up for the Chromebooks for Business program. One of the things that still needs to be resolved is solid HTML5 virtualization in order to take the place of native installed applications users expect from a customary Windows experience. And sure, for work purposes people won’t be running Pandora, YouTube and Google Apps (I hope). But they still will need to be running relatively complex applications to do their work.
These types of webapps are a step above your typical web page. I often wonder, because of this, if using a dual core Intel processor is really enough. If it proves over time to be really limited, then Intel would need to theoretically chip in with a more expensive power hungry processor, barring some technological leap. But for the time being it appears that Google and Intel have some kind of deal in place to make sure that Atom processors are shipped out with Chrome OS device.
Yes, it’s still early days. I still believe in the potential of thin clients in both the retail and enterprise markets, but my prediction is that it’s going to take much longer than I first anticipated. It seems that along with this processor situation, Google has steadfastly tried to keep Android and Chrome very much two separate entities. I’m starting to wonder, then, if perhaps the best strategy going forward might be for the retail sector to work with Android – going up against Apple. Then, the Chrome OS side can go up against Microsoft in the enterprise market.
The inclusion of Chrome on Android doesn’t make this division any clearer. It’s a promotion of Chrome, for sure, and users will be able to sync up their Chrome instances. But where does this put the Chrome Operating System?