Google's Android operating system is poised to emerge as the primary OS powering tablet devices according to Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of visual computing solutions provider Nvidia. "Windows is too big and it's too full featured for smartbooks and tablets," Huang told reporters in Taipei Monday. "The good news is that we finally have an operating system to unite behind. Android is an operating system that has gained a tremendous amount of momentum all over the world."
With sales of Apple's iPad tablet surpassing 2 million in less than two months of retail release, Huang admitted Android must continue to evolve and improve if it's to become a serious rival, citing graphics performance as one area in need of serious overhaul. "[Google vice president of engineering] Andy Rubin and his team know exactly where the industry needs to go," Huang said. "Android started out as a phone but it's not lost on them that the tablet is going to be very important and that the Android operating system has to evolve, and be enhanced in certain capabilities, in order to be a good tablet operating system."
Google unveiled the latest version of Android in mid-May--Android 2.2, codenamed "Froyo," promises speeds two to five times faster than Android 2.1 when running on the same hardware, adds 20 new features for the enterprise, offers developers new data backup APIs and supports device tethering as well as portable hotspot functionality. Android 2.2 also integrates Adobe Flash multimedia technology--Apple's decision to withhold Flash support from the iPad remains the subject of widespread developer and consumer criticism.
Nvidia plans to release its Tegra 2 processor for tablets later this year. The chip combines a dual-core Arm processor, a graphics processor and related components. "I think we'll have to wait until this fall," Huang said. "The operating systems are coming together, the devices are coming together."
For more on Huang's Android cheerleading:
- read this PCWorld article
Google outlines Flash, tethering and other advances in Android 2.2
Google's Android surpasses 50,000 applications
Google aggressively wooing iPhone developers to Android
ABI forecasts 800 million Android app downloads in 2010
IDC anticipates Android shipments will near 70 million by 2013