Consumers always say they want more choices to pick from. The mobile operating system scene is already saturated enough to the point where its begging to drop a few platforms. We have countless flavors of Linux, Android, iOS, HP's WebOS and Windows — can we sustain another one? If a new report from Digitimes is true, then we could have another mobile operating system to add to our plethora of options sooner than we thought: Chrome OS.
Digitimes is reporting that various vendors are planning to ship smartbooks running on Google's web browser-based operating system by the end of November. Google's imagining of an instant-on computer where the web browser is the center of all computing isn't completely farfetched — most of us spend 90% of our time inside of one web browser when we're using our computers. The only thing that seems suspicious about this new report is that Digitimes is claiming Google will sell its own Chrome branded smartbook, like the Nexus One smartphone. Keep in mind that Google is primarily a software company and hardware isn't its speciality — it often leaves that up to third-party vendors like HTC.
How can Google launch yet another operating system without cannibalizing its other OS, Android? It'll be ultimately up to the consumer. We see Google as operating with the same frame of mind that Apple sees the user interface going: simplified and mobile. The same way Apple has the iPhone and iPad that run iOS which is really like a really light version of OS X, Google's Chrome OS will be a supplement to its Android offerings.
Consumers will vote with their wallets as to whether we need yet another mobile computing device, especially now that the tablet revolution is beginning. With solid Android-based tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab just starting to launch, we don't think Chrome OS will be able to see success — well not this year.