Monday, November 23, 2009

Chrome OS

A topic has recently come up on our forums regarding our reaction to Chrome OS and the possibility of REALbasic supporting it.

Chome's hidden agenda is to improve WebKit adoption in order to force Microsoft's hand into better supporting modern web technologies such as CSS3 and HTML5. Google doesn't plan to make money from Chrome, they intend to improve web standards and compliance so they can in turn write better web apps that run on all platforms. It is those web apps such as Google Docs where they can make money. Remember, Google is a business, they're not simply going to devote so many resources to Chrome OS just to help people. There is always a bigger agenda.

Now, I'm all for this tactic. Microsoft really does need to get their act together, and competition from Mozilla, Apple, and Google has already forced them into putting a ton more resources into IE. Will it work? I'm not sure, there are already signs that Microsoft is again trying to fight standards with IE9 just as they did in the Netscape days.

Chrome OS is an interesting concept, but I'm not betting on it. Apple tried the webapp-only model on the iPhone and failed horribly. Why would Chrome OS be any different? For example, Macs are frequently bashed for not playing games well. Chrome OS won't be able to play games at all (flash doesn't count, I'm talking about real games) and does anybody expect that gamepad, joystick or G15 keyboard to work? That's just an example, there are a TON of things users will be unable to accomplish with Chrome OS. Enough that I believe Chrome OS will remain nothing more than an interesting concept.

Now, I'm a power user for sure, so my view could easily be skewed. But it does not make sense for REAL to put significant resources into coding for an operating system that will likely have an adoption rate lower of that of Ubuntu. The only consumers who will get this will be the ones who recieved it on their netbooks, and only if said netbook will have it pre-installed. That said, since everything runs on the web, there isn't much we'd need to do. REALbasic can already compile code for Linux (most popular web server) and has an included CGI template, so go write a web app right now.