Gmail's core developer Paul Buchheit today said in a prediction that he expected Chrome OS to die in 2011. The former Google employee and FriendFeed creator expected that it would either be ended outright or else "merged" with Android. In a defense on FriendFeed, he noted that there was no point to Chrome OS and argued that even the Cr-48 netbook was a mistake.
"ChromeOS has no purpose that isn’t better served by Android (perhaps with a few mods to support a non-touch display)," he wrote. "I was thinking, 'is this too obvious to even state?', but then I see people taking ChromeOS [sic] seriously, and Google is even shipping devices for some reason."
Critics have noted that Android already has an HTML5-capable browser and not only supports web apps but can run native apps and supports much more offline content. Being originally designed for smartphones, it has much of the quick start support and low power consumption built into Chrome OS. Either operating system is free, but it's not necessarily certain that Chrome OS netbooks will cost significantly less than Windows models that could already run the Chrome browser.
Tablets may also jeopardize Chrome OS' success. While it can extend to touchscreens, the platform was designed for a mouse and keyboard and could be undermined by the decline of netbooks as the iPad and Android 3.0 tablets get more sway.
The creation of the platform is even known to have gone against the advice of Google chief Eric Schmidt, who himself had seen his former employer Sun try and fail to launch a network-based Java computer concept. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are believed to have pushed ahead in spite of Schmidt's early advice.
Google hasn't responded to the commentary, although it has lately pitched Chrome OS as ideal for business due to the lightweight requirements, constant updates and tight security. The first Chrome OS portables won't ship until mid-2011, when Acer and Samsung try their first models.