Last week the Android world was abuzz with talk of a $200 laptop running none other than the Android mobile operating system. The conversation was sparked by a CNET report quoting Intel executive vice president and chief product officer Dadi Perlmutter. The exec told the site that $200 level notebooks would “predominantly” be Android products making use of the Atom mobile processor from Intel.
So when can we expect this flood of cheap, touch screen Android laptops to hit the market? It could be a while, because as PCWorld notes even as the free licensing of Android makes it attractive, some features are lacking. To put it simply, Android needs work to be practical as a notebook operating system. Another factor is the rise of Chrome OS, which has already made its way onto a $199 Asus notebook.
It’s not clear why Google would choose to invest time making Android more notebook friendly, when it already has an operating system suited for the job. The company has noted that Android and Chrome OS may converge over time to offer a more unified user experience, but at the moment they serve different purposes on different devices.
Using Android to add touch screen capabilities to hybrid devices, such as the convertible Asus Eee Pad Transformer hasn’t resulted in much fanfare. Essentially these products are tablets with a detachable keyboard base.
Ultimately, Perlmutter notes the operating system that runs on $200-range laptops will hinge largely on how Microsoft prices Windows 8. Intel has been dealing with a general slowdown in traditional PC sales as smartphones and tablets have taken the world by storm. The company is making moves to launch an integrated LTE mobile processor by 2014 to compete with rival chipmaker Qualcomm. In the meantime, don’t go looking for Android laptops anytime soon.