28 nov. 2010

Google Android Gingerbread, Google Chrome OS and fragmentation

These last days there has been a lot of buzz about Android vs. Chrome OS, and also about Android fragmentation. Probably that is because both Android Gingerbread and Chrome OS are about to be born. But there is something more. The point is that people are getting nervous since both look like they are not ready for the Christmas campaign: they should have been launched already for that. There is a clear delay on the products.

As well, many people think Android and Chrome OS may compete on some devices: tablets, TVs, cars, etc. Eric Schmidt, Google´s CEO, said recently that Android is for touch devices and Chrome OS is for keyboard devices. What about TV? Google says Chrome OS, but Google TV is Android based. What about tablets or even smartphones with keyboards? Confusion. Even Google executives are not clear on their statements and we have seen contradictions between them.

Beside that, people are worried about Android fragmentation. They say it is a question very difficult to manage when you are a developer, and say situation is going to get worse with Gingerbread and Chrome soon appearances. To properly provide every Android device with an optimized software is hard work, they say, and Rovio is an example with their extra effort to create Angry Birds personalization for low-profile Android handsets.

So, for many people, everything is a mess, and more if compared with iOS simplicity.

On a recent post, we explained Google and Apple are very different. And that Google is happy with many app stores.Here is why. In this post we say fragmentation and (for many people) confusion has exactly the same explanation.

Google´s target is ubiquity. They want to gain the biggest market share on mobile, TV, netbooks, and on every hardware segment, and sell ads for them. And it looks like they are achieving their goals very quickly. So, all the buzz about delays on Gingerbread and Chrome, fragmentation in Android, and confusion between Android and Chrome is something just anecdotal for Google. The important thing is being leaders in every device. Even if they have to compete again themselves.

As well, everybody should understand reality is uncertain by definition. So Google does several bets, not laying all the eggs in the same basket. Time will say. And, no matter whay finally will succeed, it will be Google´s.

What should we do as developers on this scenario? Work. Rovio´s effort to create special editions of Angry Birds is often commented on a negative way (hard to work on Android, etc.), but, if they do, wouldn´t it be because it is worthy? Efforts are positive. There are nearly 5 billion mobiles in the world, and business is in all of them.

We in Okapi Lab will go on working.

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