|Google OS? Android Adapted for Netbooks|
Android has been adapted for use on netbooks. A Google representative, citing non-disclosure agreements didn't specify if they have engineering backing for adapting it to netbooks or when they'll roll out.
|"We are keenly aware of the opportunities that Android has for multiple devices -- netbooks being one of them -- so we are not blind to it, but I can't discuss whether we have engineering backing behind it," said Daniel Alegre, Google's vice president of Asia-Pacific sales and operations... |
Full article here [computerworld.com].
|Two Android-based laptops were shown at a Qualcomm press conference held in Taipei... One of the Android-based laptops was an unannounced version of Asustek Computer's Eee PC , while the other was a prototype by contract hardware maker Compal Electronics. |
They will start hitting the market before the end of this year, raising the possibility that Android-based laptops could appear at the same time.
The NYTimes is reporting [nytimes.com] that Acer will be shipping Android Netbooks in the third quarter of 2009.
I've been trying to find a nice way to tell my folks that they can't ignore mobile any longer. This will do it.
Once again, a case is made that the wise webmaster gets paid by the hour.
Someone also told me Ubuntu will soon be able to run all Android apps. That's pretty big too actually.
Can someone explain what the advantage of Android over the standard Linux stack is?
It seems to be a Linux kernel with a software stack that is incompatible with a normal Linux OS and a Java VM that is incompatible with every other JVM.
It is optimised for low memory, which may be useful in phones, but there are very lightweight Linux distros around - certainly lightweight enough for netbooks - and they have the advantage of having a lot of software already available.
There is not as much Linux software around as Windows, but there is a substantial amount. I just checked the repositories I have configured and found they contain 26,288 packages. That does include OS components and libraries as well as actual apps, but it would be an awful lot of work to port.
But you can't be hooked straight into the google data sucking machine if you are just using a standard linux stack.
|an someone explain what the advantage of Android over the standard Linux stack is? |
The advantage with Android is you can have clean interoperability between your netbook and your phone. Android is being rolled out in many cell phones and as that market grows so will the amount of software developed for the platform as demand grows.
Some developers have made a fortune creating apps for the iPhone. This is their second opportunity. What perhaps makes Android a better opportunity for software developers is that unlike Apple's iPhone the Android OS is in use across multiple telecom companies and device manufacturers. The monetization opportunity for developing software that simultaneously works on phones and netbooks is potentially enormous, which will benefit consumers of Android based products.
Android is open source. iPhone and Windows are not.
Another advantage is in brand recognition. You will find non-techies opt for Windows netbooks simply because they are familiar with MS, and don't think they are "technical enough" for Linux.
However, they may very well feel comfortable using a "Google Netbook".
I suspect 10% of the mass market is worth a lot more than 50% of the techie market.
In other words, the question "why use Android when you can use Linux" is a bit like "why pay for Windows when Linux is free".
|In other words, the question "why use Android when you can use Linux" is a bit like "why pay for Windows when Linux is free". |
Not entirely true. I can think of perfectly good reasons to use Windows - most commonly because you need some niche app that is not available for Windows.
That said, you are largely correct, the main reason is marketing.
|The advantage with Android is you can have clean interoperability between your netbook and your phone. Android is being rolled out in many cell phones and as that market grows so will the amount of software developed for the platform as demand grows. |
Interoperability requires common standards to exchange data etc, not running the same OS.
The sort of apps I want on a phone are likely to be quite different to what I want on a netbook.
If I buy an Android notebook, it would be a convenient way of buying a netbook that I know there are Linux drivers for, on which I could install the Linux distro of my choice (although, on a netbook, I think I would go for something light).
|That said, you are largely correct, the main reason is marketing. |
Brand recognition isn't the same as marketing. It's about awareness and comfort level. Even without marketing efforts by Microsoft, the average user knows that "Windows" means "a mainstream operating system that I already know how to use."
"Linux," on the other hand, means "an operating system that I don't know much about, but which apparently is used by techies and is likely to be a hassle for people like me."
"Android" doesn't mean anything at all right now to the typical user, but if "Android" becomes a synonym for "Google," that may change. Come to think of it, maybe Google should change the name "Android" to "Google OS," which would do a much better job of telling Joe User that a Google-powered netbook or other device is designed to work with Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, and other familiar products from Google.
Brand recognition is largely created by marketing, especially in this case where people have very little direct experience of Linux.
Why should people think that Linux is for techies, or that it is hassle? Lack of resources for marketing desktop Linux, and good negative marketing by MS. The past lack of user friendliness in Linux plays apart, but given that very, very few people had used Linux back then it must be a limited part.
Why should people think they know how to use Windows, when the UI differences between versions of Windows are almost as great as between Windows and some Linux distros? Marketing plays a role here as well.
Many people do not know what an OS is, and think that every windowing operating system is Windows, or that Windows is MS Office, etc.
I could not put it better myself.
Ok, thats the logic. But the real world is different. Very, very different. There's little point asking WHY people feel Linux is "techie". They just do, and inertia is difficult to overcome.
If Android becomes to Google what Windows is to Microsoft (i.e an uber-strong association, a virtual synonym), or just rebrands to Google OS, the power behind that is immense. Forget the developer, this market is user-led.
Try some market research. Ask friends and family to rank in order of preference which netbook they EXPECT to be most comfortable with, a Google Netbook, Windows Netbook or a Linux Netbook.
I don't understand the fascination for Android. Isn't giving Google even more sway over our data?
|Isn't this giving Google even more sway over our data? |
yes, and its not a good thing IMO.
|Brand recognition is largely created by marketing. |
Not necessarily. It depends on the product. Consider:
- WINDOWS: This is the OS that most people use at work, at the public library, when they're playing with computers at Best Buy, etc. Even if Joe User has never seen a Microsoft ad campaign, he's aware of "Windows" in the same way that he's aware of the UPS and Fed Ex trucks that drive past him every day. Windows is simply there, and it's ubiquitous.
- MACINTOSH: Most people have never used a Mac, and their perceptions are largely formed by Apple's ad campaigns. Over the years, Apple has consistently communicated the idea that the Mac is cool, easy to use, and designed for "the rest of us" rather than for the corporate world. The Macintosh "mindshare" is a lot bigger than the Mac market share or user base.
- LINUX: Brand awareness (such as it is) comes mostly from coverage in in the tech press, on techie Web sites, or through word of mouth.
- ANDROID: So far, there's very little brand awareness, and that's unlikely to change unless Google does the equivalent of an "Intel Inside" campaign. But maybe that doesn't matter: If makers of netbooks, phones, etc. can get users to think of their devices as appliances that can handle essential tasks such as Web browsing, e-mail, instant messaging, map viewing, and word processing, the operating system may not matter so much. (How many people know or care what OS is used in their iPhone or set-top cable box?)
I was referring to the brand image of Linux and Android, which very few people have used.
Do far Android does not have much brand image because most people have not even heard of it.
Linux has been the subject of a heavy MS FUD campaign, so its brand image heavily influenced by negative marketing - marketing includes more subtle techniques like PR and the using the influence of sales forces, not just advertising.
@Shaddows, I do think it is worth asking why products have particular brand images if you want to know how the market works - and how it might change.
I do not entirely agree that the market is user lead. It is also lead by manufacturers. One of the problems Linux on netbooks has head is incompetent integration by manufacturers (e.g. MSI installing Linux on netbooks without a driver for the webcam).
@signor_john, you agree that Android has very little brand awareness, but no one can point out any advantage (for netbooks - phones might be different) over Linux other than the brand, so what is the point of Android?
I guess Android has two purposes. One is that Google does intend to develop the brand. The other is that manufacturers might be more comfortable with the backing of a big consumer brand.
You mean like: google will do desktop OS, and people will forget Microsoft ? :)
|I guess Android has two purposes. One is that Google does intend to develop the brand. The other is that manufacturers might be more comfortable with the backing of a big consumer brand. |
If you were Joe User, would you be more comfortable buying a netbook with a sticker that said "Powered by Ubuntu Linux" or "Powered by Google"?
And if you were a netbook manufacturer, wouldn't you see some value in offering an OS that had the branding and backing of a major corporation, along with a full range of Internet-based applications from the OS supplier?
Mind you, I'd guess that the average user would be just as happy to see "Windows" on his netbook (which may be why Microsoft is trying to redefine netbooks as "low cost small notebook PCs" before users start thinking them as a new category of information appliance). But if an alternative to Windows can offer quicker bootup, better performance, or (just as important) a cheaper price for the user and higheer margins for the manufacturer, there may be a place for it in the marketplace--especially if it comes with a "Powered by Google" label.
John, I agree about Joe User. My point is that Google could just as easily launched a Google branded Linux for the netbook market, and it would have had a lot of advantages for people who want a cheap real (if under-powered) small laptop.
As for manufacturers, they would benefit from Google;s consumer branding, but there are plenty of Linux vendors that they ought to be quite comfortable with as up to integrating Linux with their hardware (Canonical, Novell, Mandriva and Red Hat for a start).
My other point (on the first page), is that the branding does not give me any reason to use it - my first comment in this thread was that if I bought an Android netbook I would install a real Linux on it.
|My other point (on the first page), is that the branding does not give me any reason to use it - my first comment in this thread was that if I bought an Android netbook I would install a real Linux on it. |
Yes, but you aren't likely to be the target user. Netbooks are mass-market products that are selling by the millions, mostly to people who think "Linux" is a mispronunciation of "lynx," "links," or the Linus character in "Peanuts."
Nothing I disagree with there, except perhaps that it is a pity that the manufacturers are not willing to take a bit more of an effort with mainstream Linux.
|Nothing I disagree with there, except perhaps that it is a pity that the manufacturers are not willing to take a bit more of an effort with mainstream Linux. |
I imagine they've been watching their sales figures and following the money. The first-generation netbooks used Linux, but Windows XP versions sold better when they came along--even though users sometimes got more hardware for the same price (e.g., more RAM and/or storage capacity) if they bought the Linux version of a netbook.
Fortunately or unfortunately, most people just want to go with the flow and stick with the accepted standard--whether they're buying a netbook, an MP3 player, or a bicycle. (I like to think of the recumbent bike as the Linux of the bicycle industry: It has obvious ergonomic advantages over the traditional sit-on-top bicycle design, but the majority of bicycle purchasers--including those who could afford recumbent bikes--would rather stick with what they know.)