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Why Google Isn't Pushing Android For Tablets 224

Posted by timothy
from the but-I-want-to-buy-a-nopad dept.
Brad Linder of Liliputing posted an interesting analysis today about Google's reluctance to endorse Android for tablets. Linder argues that while there may be legitimate concern that Android just isn't polished enough for devices without phone access (because some apps need it), it would be smart for Google to segregate the apps themselves, so users can simply know which apps will work on Wi-Fi-only tablets. But from Google's perspective, he observes, "pushing a version of Android that isn't exclusively for phones could be all it takes for Chrome OS to be dead on arrival."
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Why Google Isn't Pushing Android For Tablets

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  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KiloByte (825081) on Friday September 10, 2010 @07:57PM (#33541040)

    Someone remind me, what is the point of ChromeOS after all? Because I can't see any.

    An actual OS can run a browser, and, in addition, any other program. Having an OS that's an one-trick pony seems to be useless to me here. For flight controllers, that can be good. For non-embedded computers, big or small, not so.

  • Re:Well... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @08:15PM (#33541174)

    Exactly.. the idea is to trap you in the browser where *everything* you do can be used to further analyze/profile/target ads to you..

    That said, Chrome the OS much like Android is rapidly going down the path of windowsCE/windows Mobile in terms of virtually unsupportable from a developer perspective (meaning you have to target devices rather than the OS) and just frustrating as a user.. (why can't I use that app on MY Android, it works on his!)

    Google knows theres a lot of disent in the ranks over the already fragmented and inconsistent android platform from consumers and developers, if they where to start officially supporting tablets they would just be adding fuel to the fire.. something they do not need right now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @08:22PM (#33541236)

    Well ChromeOS is not really an OS so much as an Idea..

    From Google's perspective, the underlying linux is not really relevant, what they are pushing is the idea that you can live entirely within the walls of Chrome (the browser) and the underlying OS does not matter.. this in contrast to Android which is far more tightly coupled with the underlying Linux based mini-distro (you couldn't just port the user facing front end to say .. windows mobile or iOS or blackberry and call it a day)

  • Re:Too early to tell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Friday September 10, 2010 @08:34PM (#33541296)
    Actually, Android is already shipping on netbooks. [engadget.com] Granted they're referred to as smartbooks when they run a smartphone OS, but the device is basically a netbook that runs Android.

    I've never been terribly interested in netbooks and have generally viewed them as rubbish, but I'm genuinely interested in the AC100. I'd need to use one before deciding to buy it, but I view it as a better proposition than any netbook I've seen to date. The newest versions of Android have added a lot of polish and can really run well on hardware that's not overly powerful. I can see smartbooks being incredibly popular, especially if they stick with keeping the profile small.

    Android-based solutions are already here. ChromeOS isn't. Google should just axe the project and focus on making Android better for these types of devices rather than trying to have two different operating systems. Any other response just makes it appear as though they're well on the road to becoming more like Microsoft where projects are made in different small fiefdoms within the company and dick-waving contests between the kings result in crap products. Set a company goal and get the whole company behind it.
  • by melted (227442) on Friday September 10, 2010 @08:46PM (#33541368) Homepage

    Read this in an interview with Jobs. They basically made an iPad prototype and Jobs said, "let's make a phone out of this". So they did.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @08:56PM (#33541438)

    Only 25,000 out of 250,000 apps are iPad native at the moment, and the iOS 4 updates for iPad have been delayed multiple times.

    PC OS struggle even more, having to support from 800x600 to 2560x1600 screens and the almost 30 years worth of x86 based code. Writing operating systems is hard, due to the fact that there is no single concept of a screen.

  • Re:Makes sense. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LiENUS (207736) <slashdotNO@SPAMvetmanage.com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @09:12PM (#33541520) Homepage
    The official android market is dependent on a sim card. Even a phone wont work unless it has a sim card in it. The trick that Archos did with their tablets is they have their own market for apps that work with tablets. Android market could detect apps that assume its a phone (in fact it does now, see the permissions system) and just not display those apps for tablets. The problem has more to do with the Android team is not confident because they have not set up the CTS stuff for tablets. That's ChromeOS's realm. The CTS stuff however is set up for Google TV already. It probably would not be too much work for them to be confident in Android's ability on tablets, they just haven't invested the time/money in it.
  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mabinogi (74033) on Friday September 10, 2010 @09:43PM (#33541636) Homepage

    I've yet to discover an android app that's incompatible with my phone.
    Maybe that's because the Galaxy S has a superset of currently available features - but as far as my experience with a user goes, I don't care. All I know is I haven't seen personal evidence of the much talked about fragmentation and incompatibility.

    Unlike my previous experiences with J2ME, where pretty much no applications ever worked with my phone, no matter which manufacturer it was from, or if they did work, they were very clunky (like not taking advantage of a touch screen)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @09:52PM (#33541672)

    As the Adobe fanboys will say, Flash apps work everywhere! Except that when the applets get resized from 800x600 to 2560x1600, the vector-rendered UI halts the CPU and drops to 0.001fps. Oh no! Actually, that happens right now, going from just 300x200 to 1024x768.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @10:27PM (#33541832)

    I am finding lots of bootlegged apps from the Android Marketplace that won't run on my Pandigital Novel, which is running Android 2.0, because it does not have GPS, camera, or phone functions, and, I suspect, due to its 800x600 screen dimensions.

    However, it runs enough to be useful to me, especially the ereaders for which it was originally marketed (I "unlocked its inner Android" in the 1st couple days with tips from the active user forum at http://www.slatedroid.com/pandigital-novel-android-tablet-discussion ). The Webkit browser, email client, stock music player, plus Pandora, and some other Android odds and ends are good enough to keep me interested - Google Maps on that 7-inch screen is wonderful (as long as I am near wifi access points), although I am still looking for a weather widget work on it ...

    For $150, it beats heck out of a Kindle 3 since I do not read in full sunlight anyway (aside from the weight).

    RO

  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) * on Friday September 10, 2010 @10:28PM (#33541838)

    why can't I use that app on MY Android, it works on his!

    Hi, Mr. Jobs. How are you today?

    Google knows theres a lot of disent in the ranks over the already fragmented and inconsistent android platform from consumers and developers.

    Huh? It's a lot less fragmented and inconsistent than Windows or the desktop Linux market, and those seem to be doing quite well.

    Seriously, I've been using Android since the G1 came out, and I know tons of people with everything from Samsung Galaxies to Nexus Ones, and I've yet to hear that complaint. Not once. Not saying that it isn't a possibility if cellular providers fragment the OS too badly, but right now I think that's just Apple marketing blowing smoke. Besides, when you get right down to it, in spite of Apple's much-vaunted 75,000 applications, and however many are in the Android Market, the fact is that 99% of everything is crud. The top few percent of applications that are worth anything will be maintained and supported on as many devices as possible.

    Furthermore, any cell phone carrier that prevents me from reverting my phone to the stock firmware (or flash a third-party ROM like Cyanogenmod) isn't going to get any of my business, ever. For all you people that are considering an Android-based device, that's one question that you need to ask before you buy a phone or sign up for a contract. Does this phone have the standard boot loader that lets me flash the stock firmware (or a third-party ROM) and a recovery partition. If not ... keep looking. If you have the ability to load the regular Android release from Google, odds are you won't have many compatibility problems. In fact, that's a good reason not to buy a subsidized phone: pay the extra for a non-carrier-locked unit running standard Android and you'll be in good shape.

  • Re:Makes sense. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @10:55PM (#33541936)

    pardon? This from the guys that literally double the dimensions of the iPhone's apps just to run on the tablet?

    Apple's own apps don't use pixel doubling. That feature is included only for third-party apps that were designed around a fixed resolution, and Apple recommends against that in its developer guidelines.

    In fact, they've recommended against it since before they released the iPad, since they knew it was coming.

    This from the guys that didn't and still don't multi-task on these devices?

    Multitasking is not an inherent feature of tablets. More than any other PC form factor, tablets seem to be designed for single tasks.

    If you look at the history of tablets prior to the iPad, you'll find that they were mostly used for obscure nice applications like factory-inventory-tracking that were essentially single-tasking.

  • Re:Jettison ChromeOS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by luther349 (645380) on Friday September 10, 2010 @10:58PM (#33541954)
    don't blame microsoft. netbooks started out as linux power devices being microsoft wanted nothing to do with them when they started selling like crazy with linux microsoft relised they missed the boat. then jumped in. at that point i would have told microsoft to shove it but netbook makers did not.
  • by MozzleyOne (1431919) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:27PM (#33542078)

    web apps just aren’t always going to do the job.

    What's stopping them?

    The only thing I can think of is cross-site scripting restrictions, but there are workarounds for that

  • Re:Too early to tell (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stephanruby (542433) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @01:01AM (#33542504)

    Android-based solutions are already here. ChromeOS isn't. Google should just axe the project and focus on making Android better for these types of devices rather than trying to have two different operating systems.

    No, Android and ChromeOS are both optimized to run on very different hardware platforms. One is designed for low energy usage, passive cooling, no swap memory, and plenty of sensors. And the other is designed for high energy usage, active cooling, and plenty of swap memory space. Fundamentally, those two types of hardware profiles are very different.

    And unless one type of hardware profile completely replaces the other, and it hasn't yet, Google should continue supporting both types. And who cares if Chrome OS is not ready yet, Google is taking the longterm view on this. Take its 'Google Docs' for instance, it's not ready to challenge Microsoft Office head-on yet, and it may never be, but it's slowly improving and it's already miles ahead of any similar online Office features offered by Microsoft -- so it will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years. The same could be done with Chrome OS. Give it two years. Give it five years, or even ten years. Google can wait. Google can afford to wait. It just needs to keep its eyes on the ball.

  • by TyFoN (12980) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @03:36AM (#33543016)
    And Mad TV reported [youtube.com] about it in 2006 :)
  • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @04:47AM (#33543236)
    Oh well they lost a potential android user here. I've waited for months to have an android tablet but even if you ignore the shoddy hardware sometimes, it is hard to overlook the fact that the App Store is something problematic. Because of the fact that Google don't give access to the app store every frikking manufacture introduces their own. And even in the hypothetical case that Google does let tablet users access the app store here in Belgium it wouldn mean sh*t as for some kind of reason it is impossible to buy paid apps in the android market. It is one big mess at the moment no matter how you put it. I was done waiting and bought an iPad yesterday. The Samsung Galaxy Tab (the one that can make a dent in the iPad market) will cost about 700 euro here , making the iPad look dirt cheap.
  • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dandart (1274360) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:31AM (#33543864)
    Of course - you can have a small-footprint OS without the annoyances of other software LOADING. Your OS can start in 5 seconds. You'll rule the world. You can run everything in the cloud nowadays, and on your own personal cloud, too, like Bibud [bibud.com] are trying to do, just more socially. I wouldn't say I needed my audio/video players, my torrent downloaders, my skype, my anything else when that thing is finished. It's just all on a cloud, running wherever you want it to run (not excluding just your own PC). And with the introduction of WebGL [wikipedia.org], games are moving to the browser. You don't have to have a cloud, but it's there if you want it.
  • ChromeOS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MemoryDragon (544441) on Saturday September 11, 2010 @08:01AM (#33544002)

    ChromeOS as far as I can judge from what I have seen on the pictures and the emulation is pointless for tablets the entire ui is centered around a mouse and a smallish screen estate. Trying to push chromeOS on a tablet would be a huge mistake. I personally dont think google is that stupid, and I beliefe their arguments the OS simply needs a tablet refinement to work fine. Heck apple did the same for iOS on the ipad, you need to change the aspects of various distances, better even introduce resolution independence, you have to ajust the layout system of the apps so that they can use the bigger real estate better than just presenting themselves blown up (the classical example is the mail menu system on the iPad)
    and you also have to adjust the market apps decently.
    I would be surprised if google would come up with ChromeOS as solution for Tablets, I rather expect a Gingerbread reference design given first to the Google Employees on christmas with decent Android based tablets following the upcoming months from HTC and co.

  • No Proxy Support (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @08:16AM (#33544080)

    Without support for proxies, Android is next to useless in the educational market

  • Re:Well... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, 2010 @07:59PM (#33549166)

    Even if I'm stuck on 2.1 for the next 2 years, I'm still in significantly better position than I've ever been with any other phone I've ever owned.

    Android may be fragmented an incompatible compared to iPhone, but it's a unified utopia compared to the disaster of the last ten years of mobile handsets.

Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images. -- Jean Cocteau

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