NVidia Prefers WinCE to Android

There have been hordes of ARM-powered netbooks that have been popping out of the woodworks of Computex this year. One of which was touting the new NVidia ARM Tegra chip.

Here's a link to an article on Slashdot which reports that NVidia is not ready to back Android as a capable platform for Netbooks.

I unfortunately say that I must agree - although its not completely Google, or the Open Handset Alliance, or Linux that is truly at fault - or NVidia for that matter.

The problem is that NVidia would need to expose yet another kernel and user-space ABI (for their latest, integrated Tegra GPU no-less), and they are not prepared to do so. Aside from that, Android performs much of the hardware acceleration (a.k.a. DSP algorithms) for graphic and audio in a completely re-done set of non-portable libraries (the last time I saw the code), rather than using a single, portable abstraction layer such as OpenGL.

My recommendation? End-users should stick with WinCE (as well as the NVidia-modified UI) that will ship with the NVidia-based netbooks - IF THEY CHOOSE TO BUY A NETBOOK THAT USES AN NVIDIA TEGRA CHIP. Certainly, there are many other, more mature ARM chip vendors that will be offering netbook platforms (e.g. Qualcomm, TI, etc).

However, for almost all other ARM cores with unencumbered ABI's and API's for hardware acceleration - by all means use Android! The Android community, which is composed of literally thousands of developers, will have an exponentially greater ramp-up on new technology and software integration speed than NVidia & MS will, as single entities. Plus, as we have seen in the past, the release cycle for Android will likely be more frequent and since it's Open Source. Furthermore, there is less likelihood that Android will fall behind and become unmaintained (which was the whole purpose of the OHA in the first place), while the NVidia & WinCE combination will likely become unsupported and outdated at some point.

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