This week Google announced their plans for Chrome OS, a new lightweight operating system (or is it?) designed for use on netbooks and planned for release sometime next year. This move is confusing a lot of people, including myself, who assumed that Android was going to be Google’s OS, extending from mobile devices to netbooks and other Internet devices. According to Gizmodo, even Google isn’t sure how to spin the relationship between Android and Chrome OS. This is where I think Apple has a huge advantage. They are supporting both mobile and desktop with the same underlying OS. The upcoming release of Snow Leopard should only advance their lead as it will be a more performant and  efficient OS with a much smaller footprint, allowing them to move into netbooks or tablets or whatever devices they are dreaming up to fill that gap between mobile and desktop. Here are the key advantages I think Apple will have over Google:

  • Apps
    • Apple’s initial release of iPhone without apps and it’s subsequent runaway success with apps have shown that developers still want native apps and that users will pay for them. Android has apps, so why not Chrome OS?
  • Simplicity
    • Single language
    • Single development environment
  • Consistency
    • Consistent user experience
    • Consistent marketing and messaging – “It just works, no matter the device”
  • Lower Costs
    • Simplicity and consistency will lower costs for Apple and it’s third-party developers

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great to have more choice in the market when it comes to operating systems, I just think that Apple’s strategy of one underlying OS is the right one.

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