Gartner: Android 'snappy,' Windows 7 less so

Though analysts stop short of endorsing the platform, they offer some hope for future Android-based devices running on ARM processors.

Android running on devices at Computex was "snappy," while Windows 7 less so, according to a Gartner report published Monday. The report concluded that there is momentum behind the ARM chip platform.

"Android is the first Linux OS backed by a strong consumer brand--Google," write analysts Christian Heidarson and Ben Lee in Gartner's Semiconductor DQ Monday Report.

Though they stopped short of endorsing the platform--saying that Android is a work-in-progress--they did offer some hope for future Android-based devices running on ARM processors versus Windows 7-based Netbooks running on Intel's Atom processor. "There is a sense among PC manufacturers that although Android is not ready for prime time today--or tomorrow--it will inevitably get there," they wrote.

The report continued. "When Android did work, we found that the user interface was very snappy on relatively low-performance ARM processors, more so than on Windows 7 on (Intel's) Atom. What we learned about support from critical software vendors convinced us that there is momentum behind ARM in the PC industry, enabled by Android."

In an interview last month , Michael Rayfield, general manager of the mobile business unit at graphics chipmaker Nvidia, echoed this sentiment. "Android has got a roar ahead of it," he said. But he added: "I think it's three of four quarters from a large-screen device." Nvidia is developing its ARM-based Tegra chip platform for Android as well as Windows CE.

Other chipmakers such as Freescale Semiconductor are also touting the potential for Android on ARM-based chips. "The potential that Google has--this has got everybody's attention," said Glen Burchers, director of global consumer segment marketing at Freescale, in an interview last month .

The Gartner report was cited earlier by IDG News.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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