ChromeOS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android (perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display).
This is a pretty common observation and an area of confusion for many, especially developers who are trying to understand where and how to target their work.
Therein lies the rub, and here comes the conjecture.
Chrome OS (and Chrome books) aren’t targeted at developers, or early adopters with multiple devices and money to burn, relatively speaking. They’re not for you or me.
To succeed, Chrome books need to be cheap, like no more than $150, including the limited 3G option, and it needs to be truly disposable.
At that price point, Google can address the very large head of the gadget market, i.e. not you or me or anyone in the long tail. Google’s clout should also open the door for international carrier and retail agreements, putting Chrome books into the hands of people around the world.
This is the true OLPC, and don’t be surprised if Google plays that card as evidence of their not being evil.
And just in time too, as the mobile web expands with increased demand.
The disposable computer (or internet device) is another hugely important piece of the strategy.
Android devices are decidedly not disposable, even the cheap ones; Chrome OS is tailor-made for multiple users, and at a low price point, a Chrome book could be lost or dumped without too much regret.
The latter point hooks users too, e.g. if your Chrome book dies, you’ll buy a new one because all your data live on Google’s servers.
Google will not make any money on Chrome books, but as with Android, they will rake in the advertising dough (making them more of an advertising company?) by putting new eyeballs in front of screens around the globe.
Rich’s commentary about his Cr-48 (where’s mine Google?) lines up nicely with what I’ve heard, mainly that its hardware is slow. Not much of a surprise, considering in there. Rich reports that video is slow, but that must be something Google can solve at a reasonable price because the Google TV also sports an Intel Atom processor, and YouTube is a must-have for Chrome books.
Anyway, while I wait with baited breath for my very own Cr-48, it’s fun to ponder the whats and whys of Chrome OS vs. Android.
I’m sure you have well-formed opinions to share in the comments.