There were an awful lot of devices running Google Android at CES this year. That includes tablets and ARM-based mini-laptops (call them smartbooks or netbooks if you like). But you know who didn’t have one to show? Asus. This despite the fact that the company kind of, sort of showed one off at Computex in June last year.
In an interview with ZDNet, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih explains that the company has prototype smartbooks in its labs running both Google Android and a pre-release version of Google Chrome OS. He’s just not sure if it makes sense to actually bring a product to market running either OS.
Probably the biggest obstacle to a successful ARM-based smartbook is the fact that it won’t be able to run Windows. That means that while you can surf the web, edit documents, watch movies, or do any number of other things on a netbook, there may still be many Windows apps that don’t run properly. And that could turn off some people that take one look at a mini-laptop and decide it should function like it’s bigger cousins.
Shih is also concerned that Google Android, which is showing up on a growing number of ARM-based devices that aren’t smartphones, was designed as a mobile operating system for phones with small screens. So he’s banking more on Chrome OS, which won’t be finished until later this year, but which Google is designing specifically for netbooks.
Still, it’s interesting to know that should Android-based smartbooks suddenly prove wildly successful, Asus may have a few tricks up its sleeve and the company may be able to pump out a model to meet market demand relatively quickly.