Asus Undecided Over Chrome Versus Android, Weighs Smartbook Options


Life is full of decisions, and for Asus, the big dilemma is which of Google's OSes would be the best fit for its upcoming smartbook, Android or Chrome.

"You still have some trade-off between Android and Chrome," said Jonney Shih , Asus' chairman. "With Android you might have the timing advantage, but Android is originally more for the smartphone, for the smaller screen. For Chrome, the original design objective is for a bigger screen -- it has multi-windowing, and is...maybe more suitable."

The decision has perplexed Asus so much that Shih admitted to having a prototype Android device in its lab "for quite a while," but has held off on launching it. In the meantime, the company is currently working on Chrome prototypes.

It's not just the OS that has Asus weighing the pros and cons. The company also wonders how many people would be willing to give up application compatibility in Windows in favor of a lower-cost subnotebook running Linux on an ARM chipset.

"With the current Wintel-based Eee PC, the advantage is you still enjoy the [application] compatibility," Shih said. "The smartbook is usually based on ARM -- then you will have some advantage in the cost. This will further push the original design of the netbook."

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