Rumored Google tablet raises Chrome vs. Android question

Google's dual-OS strategy for the mobile market is a mess--although I'm sure it once looked great on a flowchart at Google HQ

Well, there's little doubt that tablets running Google's Chrome operating system are coming soon--the only question is when. A new rumor courtesy of tech news site Download Squad suggests that Google is teaming up with Verizon Wireless and HTC to launch a Chrome OS tablet on November 26, which not coincidentally happens to be Black Friday.

Google will supply the OS (Chrome), HTC will build the device, and Verizon Wireless will provide the data network, the rumor goes. What's interesting here is that several Android-based tablets will allegedly arrive around the same time, including devices from Samsung, Motorola, and possibly even Sony. (Then again, we've been hearing about iPad-killing Android tablets for months now, but only a few are actually shipping.)

Assuming all of these tablets do ship, what will consumers make of the Chrome vs. Android issue? Both are Google-branded mobile operating systems. Your tablet of choice may run one or the other. The potential for end-user befuddlement is quite high. Which OS should you choose?

Sadly, Google's dual-OS strategy for the mobile market is a mess--although I'm sure it once looked great on a flowchart at Google HQ. Last summer, Google's vice president of mobile engineering platforms Andy Rubin stated that Chrome and Android will have distinct jobs, and that the two OSes won't overlap in the consumer market. Here's an excerpt from July 2009 news report by IDG News' Stephen Lawson:

"Google's emerging Chrome operating system won't squeeze out Android, according to [Rubin]...Mobile device OSes have specialized jobs that other platforms don't, such as running network protocol stacks, carefully managing battery life and handling handoffs among cell towers, Rubin said. 'There's different problems to be solved in different categories of consumer products...But that doesn't mean that ... one wins and one doesn't win. You need different technologies for different solutions.'"

From a design standpoint, Google's distinction between the two mobile OSes may make perfect sense--well, to engineers, anyway. But the finer points will be lost on consumers who simply see two types of Google tablets--Chrome and Android--running on similar devices. A store's sales staff may not provide a lot of enlightenment either. May the head-scratching begin!

If Google persists with its dual-OS strategy in the mobile market, it would be wise to undertake a massive media blitz to educate the masses on the differences between Chrome and Android. Compare Google's mess with the beautiful simplicity of the iPad: No OS overlap there. Apple gets it: Keep it simple, stupid.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags tablet PCGooglehardware systemstabletstablet PCslaptopsGoogle Chrome OS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?