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Does the world really need another operating system?

High hopes

Another statement from Google got my attention: "We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear - computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up.

"They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files.

"Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates."

These points are true, especially the one about software updates. But I don't know anyone who'll want to only store data in the cloud; nor do I know anyone who would use a device as a primary computer if it won't work with the host of devices one might attach.

And to assume that a new Google OS won't require constant software updates is a bit presumptive: Google has pushed out Android updates big and small; and Apple is continually updating is iPhone OS 3.0.

I do think that Android and Chrome OS can have a place on devices, and I believe these will give competing operating systems, mobile or otherwise, a run for their money - if, and only if they have apps that provide cross-platform compatibility with the Windows universe.

But I'm not convinced that even Google can challenge Windows (or Mac OS X for that matter) on netbooks or larger devices.

The device and software compatibility issues loom large here. And until Google can sell users on the advantages of its Chrome OS over other competitive options, I think the company could have an uphill struggle for carving out the niche it clearly has targeted with Android and Chrome on mobile and non-PC devices.

Microsoft Windows 7, Google Chrome OS, the first netbook with Android - these are just a few of the interlinked developments we have to look forward to in the third quarter of the year. It's going to be a busy autumn, after all.

PCWorld.com

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