A View from Kate Greene
The Coming Android Invasion
Google’s operating system will soon arrive on more phones and even netbooks.
Since last fall, T-mobile’s G1 has been the only hardware running Android, Google’s Linux-based operating system. But soon, we’ll see a new set phones and even netbooks that showcase the capabilities of the open source OS. On Monday, Samsung unveiled a forthcoming Android phone, available in European countries in June. Next week, the another Android phone, the G2, will launch in Germany. And ComputerWorld reports that in the coming months, the Chinese company Skytone will release an Android netbook called the Alpha 680. The netbook will use a processor from ARM, a company known for supplying the majority of processorsfound in mobile phones. In fact, the Alpha 680 will use an ARM11 chip–the same one found in the iPhone.
While netbooks are less powerful than laptops, they are becoming increasingly popular as secondary machines that people use while traveling. Netbook keyboards and screens, while small compared to laptops, are significantly larger than those of smartphones, which makes it easier to browse the web and write for longer period of time using them.
Some experts believe that the Linux-based Android could pose a real threat to Windows XP, which runs on the majority of netbooks, and to the forthcoming Windows 7. For one thing, Google’s operating system has no licensing fee, so Android netbooks can be less expensive than those running Windows. Additionally, Microsoft’s operating systems, while modified for netbooks, were originally designed to run on more powerful machines whereas Android was built to run on devices with limited processing power. Android could perform better on netbooks in some cases, but it’s still a work in progress. If there are bugs out of the box, people will likely opt for the familiarity of Windows.