I’ve been thinking a lot about Google’s Chrome OS lately. In 2009 it seemed like a great idea — a free OS that would allow manufacturers to offer cheap and capable netbooks (and allow Google to serve even more advertisements). Then a funny thing happened — the Apple iPad. A lot of vendors are cooling on the netbook market and focusing their efforts on tablets. As it stands now, Google’s Android mobile operating system is a better choice for tablets than Chrome OS.
GigaOm’s excellent Om Malik wrote an editorial about the situation. He suggested that Google ought to dump Chrome OS and focus entirely on Android. He makes a compelling argument, but I’m not completely convinced (yet). While tablets are the new “it” thing, there will always be a place for netbooks. Even though Windows 7 is better suited for netbooks than Windows Vista, it’s still too hefty for the relatively weak processors currently available. Chrome OS combined with the Chrome Store has the potential to excel on modest hardware in a way that Windows 7 can’t.
All of that said, I’m not sure if Google can pull it off. My question for you is this: does Chrome OS have a future?