Is Android Vs. Chrome A Metaphor For Apps Vs. Mobile Web?

chrome vs. androidGoogle’s early fantasy about mobile was that apps would eventually lose favor in favor of HTML5 and the browser. This is consistent with Google’s outlook and competitive history vs. Microsoft and Apple: the Internet and the cloud vs. proprietary operating systems and software. Yet, to date, apps have largely won out over the mobile Web.

According to Nielsen, US mobile users spend just under 80 percent of their time with mobile apps vs. the mobile Web. And, comScore has said that “four out of five” mobile minutes (roughly the same amount) are spent in mobile apps.

Last week, we discovered that Android boss Andy Rubin was stepping down to take another role within Google. Was he removed? Did he get bored or tired and leave? The Verge has a nice backgrounder that seeks to answer the question but doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its headline.

time spent with technology Nielsen

Source: Nielsen “The Social Media Report 2012″

Now that Android has been shifted to the same group under Sundar Pichai, who runs Chrome, there has been lots of speculation about whether the two operating systems would be merged into one. There are various opinions about the value or the challenges inherent in doing so.

However, earlier today, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt told reporters in India that the two operating systems would not be artificially brought together — they would remain separate — but implied that they were “converging” over time. Blogger Joe Wilcox interprets Schmidt’s comments and offers his own theory about Chrome vs. Android.

Wilcox argues that Google ultimately favors Chrome because it’s equated with the browser, which will operate on top of any OS and allows Google to bypass carrier and OS (Apple) bottlenecks and approvals. Firefox is pursuing a similar mobile-browser-as-OS approach out of necessity, as it seeks to remain relevant in mobile.

If Wilcox is right, and Chrome is a stand-in for the browser and Internet, while Android represents an app-centric mobile experience, then it makes sense Google would favor and promote Chrome over Android in the longer term. That’s their bias.

Related Topics: Channel: Content Marketing | Google: Android | Google: Business Issues | Google: Chrome | Google: Mobile

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • Burr BestCom

    APPS WILL EVENTUALLY DOMINATE THE ANDROID AND CHROME WORLD. USERS WANT TO HAVE “ON DEVICE” PROGRAMS AS WELL AS WEB BASED PROGRAMS. IF YOU TRAVEL, INTERNET IS NOT ALWAYS AVAILABLE, BUT ON DEVICE APPS OR PROGRAMS ARE. IF GOOGLE IS TO PREVAIL, THEIR GREATEST FUTURE THREAT WILL COME FROM WINDOWS 8.

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