Buzz about Android laptops has grown stronger ever since the former head at Android Andy Rubin stepped down from his post in the early months of 2013. Sundar Pichai, his replacement is also the chief at the Chrome operating system and Chrome browser. Though the shuffling of top roles could be seen by many as nothing more than just an internal reshuffle, industry experts are not shying away from speculating it as a beginning of the merger of the Chrome OS and Android into a sleek, single, uber-OS designed for all devices.
There are numerous reasons to explain for the above mentioned speculations that may or may not occur at all. However, several interesting questions remain to be answered if the rumors are anything to go by. Industry experts kept guessing whether an Android laptop would be exciting enough to be bought by the mass audiences or would it end up in a messy hybrid that does not render itself efficiently to any important task. Moreover, Lenovo recently launched the A10 android laptop which crowned them as First Lenovo laptop powered by Android.
If the Android OS makes it way to laptops, then the most pertinent question is that what kind of hardware it will bring along with it. Simply put, this question has been asked and even answered countless number of times by various third-party organizations. But in the case of A10, it is offered with a Quad-core Cortex-A9 RK3188 1.6GHz processor. Motorola had launched a keyboard dock for the very first Atrix Smartphone. However, the response was anything but phenomenal. On the same plane, ASUS tasted a little success with its Transformer tablets. Though these tablets did decent numbers in the market, it is not yet confirmed whether equal number of buyers had purchased the keyboard dock. Some other companies, including Lenevo, have exhibited several prototypes but they have not yet taken the plunge to introduce them in major markets like North America.
It is a well-known fact that Google does not manufacture many of its own products. This is why most products seen in the recent past are hinting at what we would like to see if Google started developing and marketing its own Android laptop. This would also apply, obviously, even if Google is not releasing in-house developed, branded notebook or laptop and rather, only creates an Android version specifically for desktops or laptops.
What this means is that from the hardware viewpoint, any conjectural Android laptop would be certainly not so exciting and can be plainly termed as boring. For such a theoretical laptop based on Android OS, one can expect a display screen of 10 to 12 inches, a rock solid –state drive, standard processor chipset and other similar specs. The company might also be aiming this device at the top end market. Even then, the core of such a device would not be strikingly different from the devices that are currently sold in the market. The Lenovo A10 is offered with 10.1-inch HD 1366 x 768 resolution.
Refurbishing the interface
Several industry experts have already tested several mini-PCs based on Android OS as a substitute for standard desktops. Though they stated that the overall experience was decently good, the fact remains that an operating system that is specifically designed for desktops is anytime better that one which was originally designed for Smartphones and later tablets. Such devices running on Android OS can only be considered a feasible option owing to their low prices.
However, a theoretical Android laptop would not be sold for a price less than 60 USD. Probably, it would have a price tag of 300 USD for the lower-end laptops and the price could be higher based on the specific equipment. No matter what selling price it flaunts, there is always a reasonable price that would provide good value for the laptop. If the company decides to merely port Android OS with a few tweaks, then it would virtually of no use for the laptop.
If the company wants to come up with a workable substitute to the OS X and the Windows, then it has to revise the complete interface of the OS. Firstly, they will have to focus on multi-tasking and ensure that it works smoothly with a mouse. Another important thing, the home-screen of the OS should function smoothly when viewed in a landscape mode. Also, the company might have to introduce a competent taskbar or a dock. Windows is missing in Android. Thus, the company would also have to introduce Windows apart from resize and snap functionality.
However, Google cannot ignore the fact that any alterations that it carries out to make Android OS viable for laptops can hurt its line of smartphones. To fix this, the company might consider splitting Android OS into various versions. However, it has already tested this option with the HoneyComb. HoneyComb was specifically created keeping the tablets in mind. However, this resulted in a devastation of sorts, albeit on a very small scale. A majority of the developers did not see any genuine reason for developing HoneyComb, whose popularity was stunted owing to Android 2.x. This left the early tablets running on Android OS with only handful exclusive apps which they could run.
Google might as well consider developing an operating system that seamlessly functions across all its devices. However, it is very difficult to implement. To scatter the Android OS between the multitude of smartphones as well as tablets has already created many challenging situations for the developers at Android. To add laptops to the list of Android OS devices could be seen as absurd, if not completely unfeasible. Needless to say, it is hypothetically possible to develop a scalable OS functioning on any device. However, no other OS manufacturer has tried this or has come even close to it.
Even if Google is able to develop a perfect OS for laptops, smartphones and tablets, this does not mean the apps are going to be perfect. Android developers face similar challenges as those faced by Microsoft, Google or Apple developers when they have to design a new interface for the OS software and when resources are limited, the task becomes even more uphill.