Convergence of Chrome OS and Android?

By on December 8, 2009 11:59 pm

Google recently was asked about something we have suspected: Android and Chrome OS may converge. From our perspective, Android and Chrome OS both offer compelling opportunities for building great web apps, but having two distinct operating systems from Google, each with different approaches to development, just adds complexity and confusion to the overall development landscape. Of course, it still bothers us that iPhone apps and Dashboard widgets aren’t interoperable.

Android has the first mover advantage of being deployed today to many devices, but to really get the most out of it, you really should develop using Java, or employ a toolkit like PhoneGap. Chrome OS offers the promise of using web technologies that are popular today, but is not yet production-ready, or optimized for mobile devices like Palm’s webOS.

The long-term expected convergence from Google makes sense. Convergence of Palm’s webOS with Chrome OS makes sense to us as well as they are both pushing towards having a very similar WebKit-based operating system for delivering web applications. Palm already appears to be moving in the direction of converging with Chrome through their adoption of key technologies in webOS such as Google’s V8 JavaScript engine. There’s nothing confirming that this will happen, other than it just making sense.

While there is a lot of short term interest in apps, you can still get significant results from mobile web apps, and the gap between a native app and a web-based app will quickly shrink, as evidenced by apps like Pie Guy. After all, web apps don’t require app store approval!