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Google Chrome for Linux: Android Availability

written by: •edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 7/4/2011

Android is a mobile platform based on Linux. Despite the hype, it looks like it will be some time before Google Chrome appears on Android. And although Android has interest from a number of commercial players, it will be the Open Source Chromium Project that will determine when Chrome appears.

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    Google Chrome does not yet exist as an end-user application for the Linux platform. If you have any doubt, I encourage you to work through the build and test process for yourself. If you do this, or simply read my articles on the same, you will arrive at an inescapable conclusion: Not only does Google Chrome not yet exist as an end-user application for the Linux platform, it will likely be quite some time before it does!

    Because the Chromium Project has not made available a Google-Chrome-for-Linux schedule, my qualitative, quite-some-time assessment must be regarded as anecdotal. Though admittedly anecdotal, my availability-assessment appears to be far-more grounded than the speculative ones initiated by the release of Android in early September of this year. Chrome. Linux. Android. What's the connection? Please read on.

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    The Chrome-Linux-Android Connection

    Briefly, Android is a mobile platform based on Linux. Along with the other members of the Open Handset Alliance, Google has worked to deliver Android to the marketplace. And despite predictable speculation, originating with Google co-founder Sergey Brin, the much anticipated pairing of Google Chrome and Android remains a future plan. Strengthened by the repetition of Brin's not entirely committal allusions, the Chrome-Android pairing was technically bolstered by the availability of WebKit for Android, as Chrome leverages the WebKit Web browser engine. (It turns out that WebKit is central to the Web browser that ships with Android. However, this Web browser is G1, not Chrome.)

    In the ensuing three months since Android's coming out party, and under the auspices of the Chromium Project, Google Chrome continues to make progress towards eventual availability for Linux. From a Google-critical perspective, one might regard the absence of Chrome on Android as a serious strategic blunder - or at the very least, surprising. From a more-balanced perspective, however, this absence is likely the result of a number of factors. For example, Android is a partnership in which Google is but a member. And although the Web browser is a key Android component, the availability of Chrome is not a showstopper as another browser (G1) is already available. And finally, delaying Android for Chrome would be antithetical to Google's expressed philosophy on a number of counts.

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    Chrome for Android

    In reality then, the availability of Google Chrome for Android rests ultimately with the Chromium Project. Interestingly, this same Project is responsible for the Apple Mac OS X port of Google Chrome. This latter port is also of interest in the mobile-device space as the Apple iPhone runs a Mac OS X based operating system. Of course, Apple Safari is the browser of record for the Apple iPhone. Taken together, it is quite intriguing that a seriously disruptive entry into the consumer mobile device market rests with a Web browser (Google Chrome) originating from an Open Source project (The Chromium Project).