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Device operating systems

OS Watch: Google Unleashes Its Chromebooks

Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), BlackBerry and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) made operating system waves in this week's round-up, but Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) takes the cake (and the ice cream too).

  • Google's Chrome notebook has been in beta for nearly two years, but it's ready to make its market debut with new devices from Samsung Corp. and Acer Inc. The Chrome OS relies entirely on the cloud for storage and Web-based apps, which may be intimidating to some with security concerns and liberating for others who will appreciate the faster load times and longer battery life. The notebooks go on sale on June 15 with an option for 3G connectivity. (See Google's Chrome Laptop, Android vs. Chrome and Google Chrome in Pictures.)

    Check out Light Reading West Coast Editor Craig Matsumoto's impressions of the Chromebook here. Here's the Google-approved Chromebook curtain-raiser:



  • Frag Watch: Netflix's popular movie-streaming app made its way to select Android-based handsets this week. It might have come to more, but Netflix says Android's well-documented fragmentation problem prevented that. In a blog post now removed from the company's site, a product manager wrote, "In the absence of standardization, we have to test each individual handset and launch only on those that can support playback." This was a major reason Netflix was launched on Windows Phone 7 before Android, a rare move for a mobile app. (See Netflix Streams to (Some) Androids.)

  • Google does have a solution, however. Ice Cream for everyone! It's not appeasing developers with a frozen treat, but rather introducing another OS designed to bridge the gap among smartphones, tablets and other Android devices. Mashable has the breakdown on what exactly the OS entails, but the main highlight is that developers will be able to build one app that will work across any Android device without compromise. (See Google Won't Hit 'Purée' on OSs.)

  • RIM is the latest victim of Android's meteoric rise. According to comScore Inc. 's latest figures, Google's OS overtook BlackBerry as tops in the U.S. Android captured 34.7 percent of the market in the first quarter, up from 28.7 percent in the previous quarter, while RIM fell to 27.1 percent, down from 31.6 percent in prior quarter.



    Among handset makers, Samsung was the top dog with 24.5 percent market share. In the U.S., 72.5 million people owned smartphones in the first quarter, up 15 percent from the previous period.

  • Android may have beaten RIM for U.S. market share, but another firm, Intermedia, says that it isn't gaining much traction in the enterprise. Apple, not RIM, is the leader here though. Intermedia, a Microsoft Exchange hosting provider, says that, based on activations to its ActiveSync email syncing protocol, Apple has a 61 percent market share in the enterprise, and Android only has 17 percent.



    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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