ASUS Android Computers Still in a Holding Pattern

android-netbookHope you’re not tired of waiting for an Android netbook or smartbook from ASUS just yet, because you’ll be waiting longer. PC World listened in on a recent ASUS investor call, and the Taiwanese company just doesn’t currently see a market for such a device. I was originally excited about the prospects of an Android netbook, but all of that changed when Google envisioned its Chrome OS.

And now that Google is working on bookmark synchronization within the Chrome browser, it makes even more sense to have a small laptop running Chrome. That advantage would be lost if Google added browser synchronization between Chrome on the desktop and its Android browser, however.

My prior reasoning for this holdup of Android on a computer was a timing and resource issue when Acer delayed its Android netbook — I said that if Chrome was coming in the second half of 2010, companies wouldn’t effectively be using resources by throwing them at Android. ASUS might agree. According to PC World:

Asustek executives have said the reason the Android smartbook was shifted to low priority was because the company’s engineering resources were limited and would be used elsewhere.

I don’t know that the “elsewhere” is for the still-vague Chrome OS, but I think there’s more bang for buck working on that, as opposed to Android on a small laptop. Android might add the cellular voice stack and support, but the way things are headed, VoIP support might be just as useful by the time Chrome OS hits.

I know that some readers are still very excited about the prospect of Android on a netbook;  I’m not saying they shouldn’t be. I’m saying that my excitement for such a device has tempered. But that doesn’t mean you can’t convince me to change my mind!

What would such a device offer you over a desktop operating system or one that’s web-based? How do you think Android would compete on a bigger screen with a larger keyboard? Overall speed would likely be good, but apps would be limited to the Android Market and Web apps would be hampered by a mobile device browser. I’m far more excited in a true smartbook running Android over a netbook at this point. Give me something similar in form to the Sony VAIO P, but maybe a wee bit smaller, have it run Android on a modern ARM CPU, and now you have my attention. If I have to carry Android in a “full sized” netbook, I’d rather have an operating system that fits it better.


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