As Nvidia progresses down the path of becoming a competitor in the netbook market, a lot of people have been watching their moves and speculating on their plans. Some of it has come to light in a recent interview with ComputerWorld, where the graphics firm revealed it is endorsing Windows CE as its platform of choice
for netbooks built using the ARM based Tegra system-on-a-chip solution – at least initially.
Nvidia claims that WinCE has proved itself in mobile environments, having both a low memory footprint and a good track record, coupled with an ample software library and none of the “growing pains” that other operating systems are currently experiencing. The last part is important to the company, who sees the other two contenders – Linux and Android – as unsuitable for deploying on Tegra. Technical merits and benefits aside, Nvidia feels these operating systems are just not ready for running on Tegra, citing Android’s inadequate video playback performance and the unsuitability of its user interface for netbook-sized screens.
All hope is not lost for open-source fans, however. Google is apparently working with Nvidia to create a more specialized version of Android that would give them the features they want. Even if it comes late, it may not be a huge setback – WinCE will still have to deal with the fact that the majority of software for the mobile world is still based on x86 technology. Perhaps Nvidia will revisit the idea of using Android or another Linux-based option down the road.