In the technology world Google has its share of fan following. After Apple Inc., it is perhaps the most respected technology brand in the world (Google is yet to garner the cult like following that Apple has). Most of its products tend to set trends in the market for others to follow. Google acquired Android in 2005 and unveiled it in 2007 they have never looked back with every three out of four smart-phone/tablet running on Android. The overwhelming popularity of the Chrome browser led the development of the Chrome OS which is making inroads into the notebook computer market.
In the last few years Google has been driving a lot of energy behind the ChromeOS and every few months its market share is seen doubling. This brings us to the important question, will Chrome OS and Android merge in the future? There is a school of thought which has already foreseen this. Majority of the users like to browse websites on touch screen devices rather than having to use a track pad. They argue that all computers would soon turn touch screen like all mobile devices have turned in the last few years. So it doesn’t make any technical or business sense for Google to keep working on two separate operating systems.
The only similarity between Android and ChromeOS is that both are based on Linux. Although the similarity between the two ends here it also opens a window of opportunity. ChromeOS has so far been developed as a very thin client where almost everything is done via the browser. It is a generation change from the Windows, Mac or Linux OS which factor for the bulk of the market share. So far ChromeOS can be defined as amalgamation of Chrome browser, a thin OS, and few HTML5 apps. Though HTML5 has been around for a while Java still seems to be ruling the market with most Android developers still preferring to use Java over HTML5. In the next few years we might see a shift from this pattern much like we have seen in the case of BlackBerry which used Java aggressively and has abandoned it recently.
There is a great opportunity looming in the horizon if Google can come out with a robust SDK for ChromeOS where it will allow HTML5 apps to run inside the incredibly powerful Chrome browser. This will open a new window of opportunity for Google to consolidate Android and ChromeOS into a single operating system. For now they could develop a ChromeOS Android app player that would act as a bridge between the two operating systems and in the long run push developers towards a common entity. Windows still continues to enjoy a lion’s share in the market and this remains a territory where it is the undisputed champion. By merging Android’s apps with ChromeOS’s anyone-can-use-it interface Google would be able to create a worthy rival to Microsoft Windows.
The world of technology changes at the drop of a hat and this might be the biggest development in the world of technology in the immediate future.