Google's Got A Huge Problem And Its Name's Android

Hugo Barra, Product management Director of Mobile at Google, was the speaker at an event yesterday in the company's London HQ and although there was no major surprises during the announcement, it was pretty obvious, especially towards the end that Google will soon face a huge problem.

The company will face a conundrum towards the end of the year as to how to manage two operating systems, the extremely popular Android OS and the new kid on the block, Chrome OS.

Much of the discussion during the Q&A revolved around the fact that Google did not allow some manufacturers to add Android Marketplace to their tablets because of compliance and usability issues.

Although Mr Barra avoided talking about Android OS 3.0 AKA Gingerbread, chances are that the next version of Google's mobile platform, scheduled to come out next month, will support resulutions of up to 1280x760 pixels natively.

Not only will it give bragging rights to tablet and smartphone manufacturers about being HD compatible but it will also cement Android's position as the indisputable leader of the smartphone market.

The problem though is how to convince manufacturers wanting to put Android on non-smartphone devices to use the untried-and-untrusted Chrome OS.

Indeed, Android may jeopardise Chrome OS's arrival on the market by being too successful. So popular is Chrome OS that the Open Handset Alliance might no longer be relevant despite what a Google's spokeswoman told us; for example, 3 UK and Orange are not members of OHA but yet, they are active backers of Android in the UK.

Eric Schmidt has already confirmed at IFA in Germany that Chrome OS will be gradually taking over Android OS when it comes to non-smartphone applications and both may eventually merge in the future according to a statement by Google's co-founder Sergei Brin in November 2009.

Trying to manage two competing operating systems with two different architectures, two application stores will confuse users, developers and manufacturers and may irremediably dilute (and damage) Google's reputation as a platform provider. We've seen in a recent past, with Microsoft Kin and Microsoft Windows Phone 7, that such strategies may give rise to serious antagonism that will harm the company's prospects.

Plus Google already has a serious issue with platform fragmentation and having to deal with chasing up (and convincing) mobile network operators to release updates fast enough, something that Barra acknowledged was "difficult".

What could Google do then? Well, Chrome OS is ultimately what Google aspires to, the ultimate work environment where everything is on the web, in the cloud. Unfortunately, you will still require some sort of user/data/app cache locally, even if it is hidden way, for a number of reasons.

Google could accelerate the integration of Chrome OS into Android, a much more established brand and one which is trusted by tens of millions of users.

Android already has more than 180,000 developers backing it, more than 80,000 apps out there with more than 60 compatible devices from 21 OEMs and 59 operators.

Chrome OS after all is a project name like Blackcomb or Vienna was for Windows 7 OS and since July 2010, for the first time ever, more people have been looking online for Android than Chrome. You can watch the official Google Chrome OS video from Google below.