Google exec says Chrome isn’t the end of Android

July 10, 2009

Google’s vice president of engineering has dismissed the idea that plans to bring out a new computer operating system, Chrome OS, will mean the end of Google’s existing operating system for mobile phones, Android.

As soon as Chrome was announced earlier this week “all the press and speculation started, ‘Oh, the Android is doomed,'” said Andy Rubin at an event with T-Mobile in San Francisco to show off the latest Android iteration, the myTouch 3G phone, manufactured by Taiwan’s HTC.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in Sun Valley yesterday that Chrome OS is a separate product from Android, but the two products are closely related and could eventually “merge even closer.”

Earlier this week, Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at market research firm Interpret, said the introduction of a second operating system to work on netbooks could hurt Google winning hardware partners. “If you’re a vendor you don’t know what to do,” he said.

Rubin argues that there is room for both Chrome and Android, and it doesn’t mean that “one wins and one doesn’t.” Android is specialized and does things that you would not expect from an ordinary operating system, he said.

“In the cellphone space, operating systems may … manage battery life very carefully, they handshake with cell sites as you are in your car orĀ  traveling traveling at high speeds. So there’s different problems that you solve in different categories of consumer products,” he said.

Chrome will have its place outside of the phone. “I really look forward to seeing (Chrome) run on a lot of consumer products,” Rubin said.

At the press conference in San Francisco, two new applications for the phone were introduced — one for voice messaging of text, called Voice Text, and the other to help you find stores and services in the area where you are located, called Sherpa and made by Geodelic.

Even so, Android has only 5,000 apps, one-tenth as many as are available on Apple’s iPhone.

“Five thousand apps is well short of where they need to be but at least it’s accelerating,” said Gartner analyst Van Baker. “They’ve gone from 4,000 to 5,000 in the past 45 days, so it sounds like they’re ramping.”

(Photo: Google handout)

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