Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why the time is right for the 'Droidbook'

Years ago, when Google launched its ChromeOS-powered Chromebooks, people wondered why they weren’t powered by Android, its existing mobile OS. It’s time to start asking those questions again.

At Computex this week, Acer showed off a prototype desktop running Android, the N3-220, opening the door to the possibility that similar products might follow. While there’s no certainty that Acer’s N3-220 will ever come to market, one has to ask: Does an Android-powered PC make sense?


On the desktop, probably not. Stretching out an Android app to the proportions used by non-touch-enabled desktop monitors would look awful—and even worse still if the app was originally designed for a phone. But on a smaller, touch-enabled notebook like the Chromebook Pixel? Very possibly. And if you designed a convertible Android-powered tablet that could quickly connect you to the Internet and Google’s suite of cloud-powered connectivity services, then you’d have all the power of a Chromebook, and then some.

Microsoft offers an inexpensive Surface tablet. Apple has the iPad. Google and its partners offer an array of tablets, and the Chromebooks to boot. An Android powered "Droidbook" isn't necessarily a one-size-fits-all solution. The argument here is for choice: If consumers are turning to tablets, an Android-powered notebook or convertible could offer a mix of productivity and entertainment, and provide another alternative for PC makers struggling to survive against an onslaught of tablets.

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