The lead developer of Google's Gmail service reckons the hotly-anticipated Chrome OS is doomed to failure.

Paul Buchheit, the former Google employee who also developed the company's AdSense technology, says that the cloud-based challenger to Windows 7 and OS X is likely to end up in Android's shadow.

On his FriendFeed account (a Twitter-like service) Buchheit succinctly forecast: "Prediction: ChromeOS will be killed next year (or 'merged' with Android)."

Dead on arrival?

Just last week in San Francisco Google took the wrapper off the OS, unleashing the full feature set for the first time, while promising the first Chrome OS notebooks by the middle of next year.

Beta devices are already on the way to developers, certain members of the media and a few select fans who will be allowed to test the OS ahead of the 2011 release.

Despite the fanfare, Buchheit reckons Chrome might be dead on arrival, adding: "Is this too obvious to even state? But then I see people taking Chrome OS seriously and Google is even shipping devices for some reason."

What's the point?

With a tablet-friendly Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS very much in the pipeline and Android already so well established, it's likely that Chrome will indeed be confined to laptops.

Will Android and Chrome end up being merged? Is Mr Buchheit right? Let us know your thoughts on the TechRadar Twitter feed. Also, read Gary Marshall's latest column, Google Chrome OS: What's the point?