HP’s Satjiv Chahil says Evaluating Google Android for Netbooks, But Apple May Have the Coolest Netbook

I missed this WSJ article on Mar 30 by HP’s Satjiv Chahil.

Moving Android to netbooks will be an uphill effort because the software does not run popular PC programs. That is one reason that Windows now runs on the majority of the low-end laptops, even though early models used the Linux operating system.

But H-P, the largest maker of PCs and a major Windows partner, has programmers testing Android for a potential netbook, said people briefed on the matter, though they said the company hasn't decided yet whether to move ahead with the project.

"We want to assess the capability Android may have for the computer and communications industries, and so we are studying it," said Satjiv Chahil, a vice president of H-P's PC division.

The article discusses the ARM chip.

The notion of Android-based netbooks also could have sizeable repercussions for chip makers. Intel Corp., which helped popularize the term netbooks, has dominated the category with a microprocessor called Atom that can run software designed for PCs. Android, by contrast, is designed to work on chips that use processor designs licensed by ARM Holdings PLC.

ARM and licensees that make chips for cellphones—including Qualcomm Inc., Texas Instruments Inc. and Freescale Semiconductor Inc.—are betting that Android could help them move those products into the new netbook market, too.

But remembering when I used to work with Satjiv at Apple, got me thinking, can’t Apple use the ARM chip in Netbook?

Another big use of the ARM chip is the iPhone.  What do you think?  Don’t you think Steve Jobs and the Apple gang have a Netbook prototype based on the iPhone OS.

Imagine a Netbook with full day battery life, 3G network, keyboard, phone, wifi, and iPhone apps.  This device could probably be always on like an iPhone.  With a bluetooth headset you can leave the Apple Netbook in your carrycase.

What do you think?

Here is a blog entry on this iPhone netbook idea.

ARM Netbooks Could Make OS X the Mobile OS to Rule Them All

Tim Nash - 2009.02.24 (revised)


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Freescale and Qualcomm have already announced high-end ARM chips aimed at the netbook market. ARM chips are much cheaper and require a lot less power than Intel's Atom.

According to Freescale's marketing director, ARM netbooks should offer an 8 hour battery life. As the chips won't need a fan or heat sink, they can have a much thinner case, which should appeal to Apple's designers. It also makes sense to build them with flash memory, which again helps the battery life. Sample chips are available now, and volume production will start next quarter, so Apple could have its ARM netbook ready in time for the iPhone refresh.

iPod touch with a Keyboard

Look on these netbooks as a larger iPod touch with a hinged keyboard. At twice the length and width they would still fit into a large pocket. With a 7" screen the resolution would be 960 x 640 - four times the screen space of the iPod touch.

At $15 for Freescale's ARM chip in quantity, Apple should enjoy iPod profits rather than the usual thin PC or netbook margins. Freescale thinks Linux

netbook prices could be around $200 but, with a wide range of apps, Apple could charge as much as the Windows netbooks and start at $399. These could include more memory than ARM-based rivals, because Apple buys flash memory comparatively cheaply.

It is easy to see Apple's advantages when comparing with one of the top selling Amazon Windows-based netbooks, which typically sell for $300 to $400 - roughly the same price as the 32 GB iPod touch. Microsoft will soon be reducing support for Windows XP, although it will continue to be sold on netbooks.

Look at the rumors on this.

Apple Netbook Rumors

Apple Looking at OLED for New High End Netbook

SmarthouseSmartHouse's David Richards reports:

"As forecast 9 months ago on the SmartHouse web site Apple is close to launching a touch screen Netbook type computer according to new sources in Asia. We can also reveal that Apple has been exploring the use of flexible OLED display technology for both a screen and a keyboard....

"Insiders have told SmartHouse that Apple is using a new version of their PC software which includes a mix of iPhone and Mac Book capabilities and that recently they held discussions with Sony about licensing OLED technology into notebooks....

"...sources have told SmartHouse that Apple had a change of mind after they improved the capability of their touch screen software and because they had been able to get new patents that allows them to deliver new features to a 'small notebook'"

Link: Apple Looking at OLED for New High End Netbook

Wintek to Supply Touch Panels for Apple Netbook

Daily TechDigiTimes Yvonne Yu reports:

"Taiwan-based Wintek will supply touch panels for Apple's new netbook, and shipments will start in the third quarter this year, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report.

"...Wintek added that no shipment schedule has been worked out yet, but shipments are likely to begin in the second half of the year.

"Quanta Computer will be the maker of Apple's new netbook, the Commercial Times report said...."

Link: Wintek to Supply Touch Panels for Apple Netbook, Says Paper (subscription required)

Apple Plans to Launch Netbook with Touch Screen

CNN MoneyDow Jones reports:

"Apple Inc. is planning to launch a netbook computer with a touch screen monitor as early as the second half of this year, two people close to the situation told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

"The mini laptop computers will likely have monitor screens that are between 9.7-inches and 10-inches, one person, who declined to be named, said.

"Another person said other specifications and functions are still under evaluation...."

Link: Apple Plans to Launch Netbook with Touch Screen - Dow Jones Sources

'iPod Touch HD' Will Have 10" Screen

Silicon Alley InsiderSilicon Valley Insider's Dan Frommer reports:

"More details about Apple's reportedly forthcoming Internet tablet, which we've been calling the 'iPod touch HD' for a few months: Dow Jones sources say Apple plans to sell 'a netbook computer with a touch screen monitor' with a screen between 9.7 inches and 10 inches. Dow Jones also reports that the device will launch 'as early as the second half of this year.'

"That's consistent with what we've read so far, and roughly consistent with what we think Apple should try to sell...."

Link: Apple's 'iPod Touch HD' Will Have 10-Inch Screen: Report

Scale Down Mac OS X or Scale Up iPhone OS?

ZDnetZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes says:

"DigiTimes is reporting that Taiwan-based Wintek will start supplying Apple with touch-sensitive panels during Q3 of this year for a new product - but what sort of product will that be?...

"The way I see it is that Apple has two ways it could go. The mainstream thinking is that Apple will go for a netbook of some sorts in order to take advantage of the current craze for netbooks....

"The alternative would be so form of scaled-up iPhone (either with without the phone part). An iTablet perhaps... likely to be powered by a tweaked version of the iPhone OS...."

Link: What Should Apple Do - Scale Down Mac OS X or Scale Up iPhone OS?

Apple's Netbook Will Be a Folding iPhone

ComputerworldComputerworld's Mike Elgan says:

"A rumor is circulating, based on Taiwanese newspapers that cover laptop and cell phone components and manufacturing, that Apple will ship some kind of touch-screen netbook this summer.

"The professional speculators are rallying around two distinct visions for this netbook. The first is a standard netbook with screen and keyboard. The second is essentially a tablet, which has been dubbed the 'iPod Touch HD.'

"I think both these visions are wrong, or both right, depending on how you look at it...."

Link: Apple's So-called Netbook Will Be a Folding iPhone

Why is this important to the data center audience?  The more netbooks out there, the more data and apps will be in the data centers.