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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chromebook just got infinitely better, and this is the future of Android

I've been using a Samsung Chromebook Series 5 500C for some time now, but to be honest, I was getting ready to sell it because I just couldn't get used to having only one browser open at time.  Especially with multiple Google accounts, it just didn't mirror how I work on my Mac with multiple Chrome profiles for every Google account I use.  Fifteen full page tabs just feels weird.

The newest release into the Chrome OS dev channel just changed all that.  It allows for multiple Browser windows to be overlapped, and includes a ribbon launcher on the bottom of the screen that makes this feel more like a computer.

To get the newest release, you go to the wrench, select "About Chrome OS", select "more info..." and choose "Dev - Unstable".  The next time your Chromebook looks for updates, it will download this version, which although it is called "Unstable" has been pretty stable for me.

This all got me thinking...this is probably one of the biggest reasons I don't take a tablet seriously for getting real work done.  That is, the multitasking presentation that exists today on iOS and Android just doesn't make sense for how my brain thinks about multitasking apps.  I need to see the multiple windows to remember they are there.

The closest I've seen to this being solved is Chrome on Android.  There's an affordance that's always there to tile the multiple windows, and it just works so much better than having to remember that button is down there to see the other programs that are running on Android.   And having to double button on iOS - I wonder how many people know that is there.   The simplicity of iOS doesn't work for me. My brain craves something more complex.

If Google can solve the multi-window problem in Android like they have in Chrome for Android, and merge that with Chrome OS, then I think they will actually have a powerful weapon against Apple.     When I can effectively use my Android phone as a Chomebook, then this starts to all make sense.

The Motorola Atrix kind of has a feature like this when you dock it, and although it looks pretty klunky now, perhaps this is one of the things that Google really bought from Motorola mobility, especially if they patented it.

I expect the next iteration of the Xoom tablet, to be a Google tablet, sold like they started selling the Galaxy Nexus yesterday.  I expect Chrome to be front and center on said tablet, to pave the way for the Chrome OS/Android merge, with this Moto docking technology coming in the background.

Chrome on Android is already so good, I definitely use it more than I use native apps on my Galaxy Nexus, so this doesn't seem like a stretch.

This post was written entirely on my Chomebook.

[n.b.:  this is all conjecture - I don't have any knowledge of this as a strategy from my time working at Google]

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