Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Switched On: When netbooks suffer from 'Droid rage

Switched On: When netbooks suffer from 'Droid rage

Ross Rubin (@rossrubin) contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

Despite powering only a handful of handsets available on the market, Android has already had a significant impact on the competitive landscape in smartphones. Looking at its primary rivals that run on a variety of hardware from multiple manufacturers, Android has provided a free and highly customizable licensed challenge to Windows Mobile, And competition with the Google-developed mobile operating system may have also provided the final push of Symbian into the world of open source.

Just because Android has turned the tables, though, does not mean it should be used on devices that rest on them. Recently, the infatuation with Android has led to much speculation and supplication regarding the operating system as an alternative on netbooks and less proven "gaptops" that live between the smartphone and the notebook. But while blazing benchmarks may erase any speed records set by netbooks running Windows, they can't erase what amounts to a weak case for Android on these devices.

Recent history shows that the overwhelming majority of consumers want Windows on their netbooks. This has become especially true as the market has shifted from the quasi-appliance like original Asus Eee, with its suboptimal 7" screen, to most netbooks running 10" and now even larger screens and vendors such as Dell and HP that are pillars of the Windows hardware world have grabbed market share. Even these manufacturers have more to gain by going with their own twist on Linux. HP, for example, has created a unique and differentiated experience with its Linux environment for netbooks. It will take some time before various Android implementations are so unique. It's unclear why an Android-based netbook would fare much better than Linux-based netbooks have.

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Switched On: When netbooks suffer from 'Droid rage originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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