As a follow-up to my last post on developing a new operating system, I wanted to write a little about the recently announced Google Chrome OS. It seems to me that Google might be doing what I recommended.
But, as it turns out, the Palm Pre didn’t revolutionize the world with the webOS. Here is famed developer Jamie Zawinski talking about his switch from the Pre to the iPhone:
It seems to me that the only way this phone is going to be usable is for it to get literally 10× faster across the board. There was a speed improvement of maybe 10% between WebOS 1.0 and 1.2.1, so I think it’s safe to assume that they’ve already picked the low-hanging fruit.
Also interesting was John Gruber’s comment in his post about Jamie Zawinski switching phones:
Apparently, webOS is just slow. And this is where the Google Chrome OS comes in. It is being targeted for Netbooks but will be open source so you can install it wherever you like. Having a ‘web OS’ on hardware that can run it quickly might make it what I dreamed Palm’s webOS was going to be. Granted I have neither used a Palm Pre or looked into developing for it, so I don’t know what it is like. But this is another thing in favor of the Google Chrome OS. I don’t have to buy a phone to try it out.
There aren’t a lot details available about the Google Chrome OS, yet. If it just ends up being a glorified browser then I don’t think it will be that big of a deal. It won’t be a big deal to me at least. I need my command line! But if it allows web developers to write native applications (and this means having access to the filesystem, hardware, and system libraries) using open web technologies, well that would truly be amazing.