Look Out for the Mobile Version of Google Chrome

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 11, 2008

Is Google Chrome going to arrive in a mobile version for smartphones and other devices? Google has already confirmed that it will arrive in a version for its Linux-based Android platform, and there are lots of reasons to believe that Chrome was developed in its initial Windows version with mobile devices in mind. However, Google will likely face much competition from Mozilla, which is developing its own open source mobile browser dubbed Fennec.

When the Chrome browser was announced, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, said this, in a CNet interview:

"Probably a subsequent version of Android is going to pick up a lot of the Chrome stack," Brin said, pointing to JavaScript improvements as one area.

Chrome only has a 7MB footprint, and was obviously designed to be a lean browser, even in the Windows version. Also, as we covered previously, there is already active development going on for a Linux version of Chrome, as well as a Mac version. Google has a substantial post up about development of the Mac and Linux versions, here, and there is a Google Groups page up reporting on the status of the Linux version.

It will likely be easy for Google to deliver a version of Chrome for Android and the many smartphones slated to run Android, but that doesn't mean that it will necessarily be easy to compete with other browsers. Mozilla's upcoming Fennec mobile browser is coming along at a fast clip, and much effort has been put in to make it lean and fast.  (Some observers had questioned whether Google could deliver a slim enough version of Firefox for mobile devices.)

The ace in the hole for Chrome on mobile platforms, though, may be its ability to isolate applications and tabs, running multiple applications in an operating system-like way. Especially if applications for Android begin to reach out to lots of web- and cloud-based services, mobile Chrome may end up being bigger news than desktop Chrome.