6 Comments

Summary:

UMPC Portal is reporting that NVIDIA is concentrating on Tegra-powered smartbooks running Windows CE, as Android is not ready for laptop devices. This is surprising, to say the least, as Windows CE has not been popular for powering big-screen devices. While Windows CE is a more […]

tegra_badgeUMPC Portal is reporting that NVIDIA is concentrating on Tegra-powered smartbooks running Windows CE, as Android is not ready for laptop devices. This is surprising, to say the least, as Windows CE has not been popular for powering big-screen devices. While Windows CE is a more mature (read aging) OS, most apps in the Windows Mobile ecosystem don’t run on Windows CE, so I’m not sure what the gain is for NVIDIA. Why is NVIDIA reaching for Windows CE over Android? ComputerWorld interviewed NVIDIA Mobile Business Unit GM Mike Rayfield, who provided the company’s thought process:

Nvidia chose to work with Windows CE first, said Rayfield, because it “is a rock-solid operating system that has been shipped billions of times.”

Windows CE also has a “low memory footprint and a good collection of apps,” Rayfield said.

He said Nvidia is also improving Tegra for use on Windows Mobile, a close variant of Windows CE, for ARM-based smartphones.

Nvidia is working with Google to accelerate Android, which is based on Linux, when running on Tegra hardware. But it will be about a year before that delivers for smartbooks, due to existing limitations in Android, he said.

So it looks like those wanting to see an Android smartbook running the NVIDIA Tegra will have at least a year to wait. I’m not sure if a Windows CE smartbook is going to set the world on fire no matter what NVIDIA may think.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. The juicier quote follows the one you made

    “…due to existing limitations in Android, he said.

    For instance, Android screen icons that fit on smartphone screens (usually 4-inches and under) are oversized on a smartbook’s 8- or 9-inch screen, he said.

    Also, all video and graphics rendering in Android is done today by the operating system’s Java code, a technique he says is too slow for HD video.”

    “There’s no hardware acceleration. It’s all software,” Rayfield said. “Everyone’s talking about Android for cell phones, but the reality doesn’t exist for the larger displays [of a smartbook.]”

    So there are valid reasons why, despite the brand recognition and the fanfare, Android is currently not suited (yet) to devices in this space.

    CE 6 is out, 6.5 and 7 are on their way, and if, as nVidia alleges, they have inked distribution deals with cell carriers, then they will also be widely available. Perhaps this will address the limited software currently available for Windows CE (not Windows Mobile) and incentivise development on the platform.

  2. Tegra wil be showing up in lots of WinCE/WinMo-based devices from the Zune HD to phones in the next few months. NVidia will be putting a lot of effort into driver development and obviously want to get the most out of that by supporting one platform really well.

    As it stands, Android is largely untested and is way too overpromoted considering that it currently only sells on one uninspiring phone.

    Having said all that, I still think this whole “Smartbook” is a stupid idea. Too big to be a phone, too small to be a laptop it doesn’t even have a sensible name. “Smartphone” distinguishes phones with advanced capabilities from feature phones while “Netbook” distinguishes laptops with less advanced capabilities from their larger, more powerful cousins. What is so smart about a Smartbook? If anything it seems like it should be a DumbBook as they are even less capable than Netbooks. I am willing to bet a considerable sum that these things are even less successful than MIDs have been.

  3. NVIDIA badmouths Linux. What a surprise. (Not!)

    NVIDIA is hostile to open source. No wonder they prefer to work with Microsoft. In turn, Google is not entirely open, so Google makes a better match than, say, Canonical.

  4. Windows CE smartbooks will fail even more spectacularly than MIDs and UMPCs. NVIDIA should just wait untill Android is ready for larger devices. NVIDIA is in a hurry to lose money.

  5. I would like a device with a forward looking hardware platform (Tegra) AND a forward looking software platform (Android). Android supports OTA updates, so even if Android does not leverage all the features of Tegra initially, updates can be pushed out, as improvements are made.

    If Nvidia wants to use WinCE, to demonstrate some of the capabilities of Tegra, fine, but it’s not what I want as a final product.

    1. I agree with HereAndNow

      The statement above “As it stands, Android is largely untested and is way too overpromoted considering that it currently only sells on one uninspiring phone” is pure bull.

      I have been using the HTC Magic for only a few days now in Norway, and find it to be one of the slickest pieces of technology I have ever used!

      Far easier to use than my previous (well liked) Nokia Smartphone, and with access to a selection of excellent free apps to build on those which come with the phone.

      Roll on netbooks with the Android OS…

Comments have been disabled for this post