When Google decided to no longer support the H.264 video format stating patent issues one of the biggest questions I heard being asked was "Why not Flash?". Also, when Apple decided not to support Flash the Android market made the fact that it will support Flash one of it's marketing points. I believe, as far as Google is concerned, Apple couldn't have done them a bigger favor. Many people are looking at the little battles, but missing the war. The dark horse is ChromeOS.
Google released it's Chrome Web Store recently. While many people squawk about them using the "install" term which I already explained, it is a great site for discovering web apps. Google's vision of the future of computing relies heavily on web apps. Especially with it's ChromeOS operating system. Many of these web apps, need Flash to run. This is why, Flash is getting baked in to Chrome. Embracing this technology gets only helps to coax users toward their vision of the future.
Do you see??? Do you see??? No, not yet? Ok, let's continue....
ChromeOS is geared towards several different markets, all of which make up a huge sections of the consumer base:
- Parents who want a cheap computer for their kids to surf the internet and do their homework, that CAN'T get infected with viruses.
- Older people don't want to deal with keeping a system up to date and scanned for viruses
- Business that want laptops for their employees that are super affordable, can't get infected by viruses and employees can't install crap on. Most of which use an internal web based intranet portal anyways
- Anybody else that wants a cheap computer, one or even two for every room, like TVs today, that are safe secure and can't be infected.
Even if they only have one "real" computers in the household they can have several ChromeOS devices throughout the house. Everything is web based and syncs so that moving to that "real" computer to download and print a PDF or whatever, is seamless. Just log in using Chrome and all your stuff is available to you.
I know that prices haven't been revealed yet, but I have heard Google employees, during talks refer to them as "disposable" machines for business. Where you don't even troubleshoot or fix them, if one breaks, just dispose of it and replace it. Remember, everything is sync'd to the cloud so as soon as you enter your credentials it's like your on the same machine... in like 3 minutes, not half a day. How's that for TCO.
Now for the revelation....
So you have these web apps that you found in the Chrome Web Store, that you can use on those cheap ChromeOS devices, and on your regular computer or your parent's computer or neighbors computer..... and on your Android Tablet... even on your Android phone.... in fact you can use them everywhere.... EXCEPT on the iPad!!! And given Apple's adamant statements about Flash, that isn't going to happen anytime soon.
All your web apps are sync'd to your Google account, so it's not too far off to bet you'll start seeing those web app links show up as icons on those Android tablets. Move seamlessly from one device to the next. Hell, I haven't done any Android development yet, but if they don't do it I'll find a way to.
Working in one of those web apps and it's time to go? Are you going to a meeting that will require you to type? Take the ChromeOS laptop. Does your meeting better suited to a touch device? Take the Android tablet.
As a side note, it just goes to show that, NO, ChromeOS and Android are NOT competing or repetitive, they are complimentary and can live very nicely side by side.
I just recently converted from an iPhone 4 to the Motorola Atrix.
I was playing with the Atrix and figured I head over to a very cool web app I found on the Chrome Web Store to create mock ups called Cacoo
. What do you know, it loaded right up. Just to be sure I tried to get there on my wife's iPhone 4, no dice, got the Flash error. While I was playing around with it, I was thinking, man, if only this screen were bigger... AHA!!! Building mock ups on my CR48 is great, but if I could do it with my finger on an Android tablet, it would be even smoother I think. Until now, it's only been the iPad, so people haven't been able to experience this yet, but I believe it's coming with the Android tablets, and the selling point that "Flash" is available on the Android tablet is going to become a REAL strong selling point.
Want an ecosystem.... now THAT's an ecosystem. One that is only expanded as more and more developers jump on board. It doesn't depend on Flash but is helped greatly by Flash and so Flash and Google will continue to be married at the hip.