There is no doubt that today’s gadgets are experiencing a tremendous convergence with smartphones, smartbooks and netbooks being near the middle of that mashup. They’ll never get fully smushed together into 1 device – at least not in the near future – as different situations/preferences demand different hardware and software decisions. But its pretty obvious that both Android OS and Chrome OS are hovering in this converged “on-the-go” internet realm and the idea that they will never overlap is simply ludicrous.
So what does Google say? Speculation only gets you so far and at the recent Chrome OS media event, several attendees asked about the capability of Chrome OS to run Android applications. The Google employees on the panel pretty much refused to answer the question, saying only that Chrome OS would NOT immediately support Android applications and they had no intentions or plans of that at the moment, their first goal is to get a working Chrome Netbook out in the holiday 2010 season.
Company line. There is OBVIOUSLY a more lengthy, detailed conversation that is worthy of discussion but at this event the company held a “first things first” approach, not wanting the media to get ahead of themselves. But Google co-founder Sergey Brin DID have something to say (to CNET) about the Android/Chrome topic AFTER the event claiming they:
“will likely converge over time,”
Holy smokes. Converge… as in… become one? In the following interview, Google CEO Eric Schmidt speaks on the topic of where Android will be in 3 years (16:30 remaining) and how it relates to Chrome OS:
In fact the Chrome OS is a different product and a different target market. One way to think about it is that Android is really targeted towards people who are phone centric… and we all understand what phone-centric means: it’s a mobile device, it has a Wi-Fi connection and you carry it. If it isn’t a phone it’s something like a phone – a tablet or something like that.
The Chrome OS is really targeted at the PC/Netbook-centric user. And that’s somebody who is at a desk, they’ve got a keyboard or something like that, they’ve got a reasonable screen and a they’ve got a good processor.
The uses are different and we don’t think the two completely overlap.
I think Schmidt has the vision outlined perfectly and that “converged” statement made by Sergey Brin can be perceived in an extreme manner. No matter what happens, there will always be a need for a device you can carry in your pocket (smartphone) and a larger device with a bigger screen you can access in a coffee shop or on the couch (netbook). Android serves one unique set of needs while Chrome OS serves another. In some cases these needs overlap and if you think about it, two great examples of these overlaps would be with a Smartbook (netbook with always connected internet) and Android Netbook. I think a better way of explaining how Android and Chrome OS will relate in the coming couple years is “integrate” rather than “converge”.
Converge seems to suggest that the 2 operating systems will become one – which I don’t think will happen any time soon if at all. Integrate is more realistic – Android Applications could be run on Chrome OS, Android Market would be on Chrome OS, Chrome browser would be used on Android, Browser extensions/themes could be run on Android, etc. Keep in mind that I’m merely speculating here – comparing what Sergey Brin said in a side conversation and what Eric Schmidt said in front of television cameras and rationalizing what the future holds based on their statements.
What is your opinion? Will Android and Chrome Converge? Integrate? Stay completely separate?