Android as a Netbook OS

There has been grumbling about the lack of cell phone platforms available for Google’s Android OS. Perhaps it is because the cell phone platform was just a Beta test for Android.

Rumors about Android being targeted for Netbooks have been around for a while.  Well, it’s not a rumor anymore.  Android has been successfully loaded on an Asus Eee PC 1000H Netbook.

A low overhead, open source OS with the backing of the Google brand behind it.   This could be bad news for Micosoft’s sales projections of Windows7 in the Netbook space.  Consumers who are not comfortable with the current alternate of a LINUX based OS would feel more comfortable with a Google branded OS. (Yes, I know Android is LINUX based, but I’m talking marketing here, not the technical aspect.)

The fact that Google has made Android open source, means no OS licencing fee.  The Microsoft licensing fee is a big cut into the profit margin of any netbook sold running XP, Vista or Windows7 in the future.

Add Chrome to the mix, Google’s browser, which many feel was designed more as a platform for cloud based applications than a general purpose browser and you have a platform that fullfills many of the basic functions that users have.   Google has added the “offline” feature” to gmail and their calendar app.  I expect tasks and Google docs to follow soon.

Here is a senario to consider, using your Android cell phone’s G3 connection as the Internet connection for your Android netbook.  The Android to Android connection could be over Bluetooth, WiFi or even a USB cable.

Details on Palm’s new OS

The OS is called WebOS and is LINUX based. Applications will be written in CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.  The SDK should be interesting when it comes out.

The new Palm Pre, due out in the first half of this year, has some really nice features.  These include a Replaceable battery, and a MicroUSB connector for charging, with USB 2.0 support. This is on top of the standards, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, various sensors, a sharp screen.

The biggest stopping block to the Pre being a game changer is having it locked to the Sprint network.  As soon as it becomes available on other networks, it could be a interesting challenge to the iPhone.

Microsoft to repeat a Vista mistake in Windows7

One of the serious problems with Vista was the half dozen plus versions.  That caused market confusion as well as code bloat, since every version had the same code with features locked out in the lower end versions.

It looks like nobody has explained exactly what is wrong with this to the marketing folks at Microsoft because they are about to repeat the same mistake with Windows7.

Palm’s new OS

Palm has been working on a new OS for the past four years, code named Nova.  The rumor is that it will be released at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2009.

A Palm executive makes an interesting observation in BusinessWeek, “The next 10 years is all about the transition from notebooks to mobile computing.”

Palm’s strategy is to not go over the business market (dominated by Blackberry devices) or the high end “strong mobile media experience” (where the iPhone rules), but the “fat middle of the market” of users who want a mobile Internet device/Phone, but don’t need/want to watch movies on a tiny screen.

It sounds like a good plan, except for one fly in the ointment.  That is the same market space Google is going after with their Android OS.

Microsoft is going into the cloud

Microsoft is playing catchup with Google and entering the Cloud Computing space. Here is what CEO Steve Balmer had to say about it:

 “We need a new operating system designed for the cloud and we will introduce one in about four weeks, we’ll even have a name to give you by then. But let’s just call it, for the purposes of today, Windows Cloud.

“Just like Windows Server looked a lot like Windows but with new properties, new characteristics and new features, so will Windows Cloud look a lot like Windows Server.”

We’re not driving an agenda towards being service providers, but we’ve gotta build a service that is Windows in the cloud.”

Microsoft probably feeds the need to respond to Google’s new browser, Chrome.  What I’m hearing about Chrome is that isn’t so much as a entry into the browser market, but a platform for more robust “cloud” based apps such as Google Documents.

One of the exisiting theories is that Chrome is the first componet of a Google OS.  Chrome is supposed to be the interface to the applications.  If you look under the hood of Chrome, it is built more like an OS than a browser.  

All it will need is a thin layer to access the hardware (boot, and then interface with video/storage/audio/periferal I/O(USB for a start)/network interfaces)  and it’s pretty much good to go.

This would a thin client model with most of the applications out in the cloud, and as much of the data as well.

It seems that Microsoft is taking this serious enough to announce their own cloud base computing plan.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.