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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.