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Android This Week: Chrome Won't Kill the Mobile OS

[qi:gigaom_icon_google-android] The biggest Android news by far this week actually dealt with the release of another platform from Google. The search giant (s goog) announced Chrome OS, an operating system targeting netbooks and desktops. As part of the announcement, Google made it clear that Android will stay around and will be separate from the new OS, clearing up questions of whether Chrome would mean the end of the smartphone operating system. Android had been discussed as a platform for netbooks, but it seems that Chrome will get that role, at least next year.

And those who can’t wait to put a Google OS on the netbook can do so now, as the LiveAndroid project is alive and kicking. A new version was released this week that enables mouse control over the interface. Development is continuing on the project, which is a port of Android 1.5 onto the x86 platform for use on netbooks. A LiveCD distribution that can be burned onto a bootable CD lets it be used without impacting anything already installed on the netbook. Google is planning a USB stick version, allowing LiveAndroid to be booted from the stick, a concession to the fact that netbooks don’t usually have optical drives.

Also this week, T-Mobile opened up ordering for myTouch 3G, its next-generation Android phone. The myTouch 3G is $199.99 with a two-year contract, and deliveries are guaranteed for August 5. The myTouch is made by HTC and is sold under the Magic name outside the U.S. At its press event for the myTouch launch in New York, T-Mobile surprised folks by saying it “has no plans to bring the HTC Hero to market.” The HTC Hero is the upcoming Android phone with the innovative HTC Sense interface.

7 Responses to “Android This Week: Chrome Won't Kill the Mobile OS”

  1. Even if T-Mobile was going to offer HTC Hero in a few months or next year, they cannot admit as much now cuz that might hurt their myTouch sales. People might decide to wait for HTC Hero, instead of buying myTouch now.

  2. I agree with this statement in the short term, because there is no short term for Chrome. We won’t see it for another year. But, in looking at a mobile tablet profile, Google probably came to the conclusion that a full, or more accurately already minimized, OS wasn’t necessary. The long term perspective is probably to acknowledge that Google’s strength with Android is not applications but the browser. Why carry all of the baggage? I vote for a merging down the road.

    Palm should be considering a tablet like device based on the WebOS. It makes sense. One could say that the WebOS is Chrome before Chrome. I have yet to really look at the SDK, and have no understanding if applications can retain embedded content, but if they enable such features, the WebOS could be well situated.

    A browser as an OS is a truly important technology, and should have evolved long ago. My question is, with the fragmenting of the mobile OS space, who wins? Apple in my opinion wins in the short term. The web in the long term.

  3. They could also let the market decide – in fact, that’s probably what they’ll do. If they find that Chrome OS is doing better in the embedded/mobile space and they can perhaps offer a Palm WebOS sort of interface, then there’s no reason for them to prevent any cannibalization in the Android space.