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23 Nov 11 HTC mulls Android Chrome OS hybrid for Internet access devices

HTC doesn’t build notebooks, but it does build tablets — and now it’s pondering some sort of mashup of Android and Chrome OS that will power future “Internet access devices.”

If you’re going with Google’s definition of what such a device would be, it’s probably something like the Asus Transformer Prime: a tablet with a removable keyboard. When they showed off the first laptops running Chrome OS, Google said that’s where people are using the web right now. Tablet use is skyrocketing, however, which is why Google continues to plug away at a tablet-friendly version of Chrome OS that will find its way onto devices in the near future.

But they’re also simultaneously working on bringing the Chrome browser to Android. So what, exactly, is HTC pondering then? A device that can dual-boot Android and Chrome OS hardly seems like a good idea if the entire core of Chrome OS — the browser itself — is heading to Android anyway.

Furthermore, consumers historically haven’t responded well to dual-boot options. HTC should remember this from the days of the Shift, which sported both Windows Mobile and Vista. It was widely regarded as a major disappointment. Add to the mix the fact that Chromebook sales to date have been abyssmal, and you’re left shaking your head and wondering just what HTC could possibly be up to.

There is, however, one bit of Chrome OS that could be smartly integrated with Android to deliver a unique device: its multiple profile support.

Not every household has the spare cash to justify purchasing one tablet or notebook per family member, and current tablets just aren’t built for multiple users. By ripping the Chrome OS login screen — which already ties into the same Google authentication backend that Android does — HTC could offer a tablet that allows users to sign in and out to keep data private, segregate their app purchases, and even keep music and video libraries from spilling over.

More at DigiTimes

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