Android laptop? No! Give us Android apps on Chromebooks instead

Summary:A sketchy rumor of upcoming laptops running Android is thankfully most likely not true. What would be great is bringing Android apps to the Chromebook instead.

An Asian source that often shares rumors that have no basis in fact recently put one out there about upcoming Android laptops. I'm not linking to it, as it's not a news report; it's pure conjecture. It's also a very silly idea on all fronts.

Chromebook Android
Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

A laptop running Android would offer nothing of benefit to consumers or the enterprise. The OS is designed for phones with small screens, and tablets with slightly larger ones that are totally operated by touch. As good as Android is on those devices, it would not be of much use on a laptop as the primary OS.

We already have Android tablets with laptop docks, like the Transformer line from Asus. These tablets are quite nice for occasional use in the dock as a laptop stand-in, but not as full-time laptops. While a few Android apps work fine on these hybrids in laptop mode, most really need a tablet form to be useful. That's lost on a pure laptop form.

An Android laptop would certainly need a touchscreen to even use most apps. The only apps that would be feasible to use on a laptop are those that scale up to a larger screen; there are quite a few that do, but far more that don't. There would need to be a way to find "laptop" apps in the Play Store, and even that would be hit and miss.

There are some good office suite apps on Android that would open the chromebook up to the enterprise market. While not real Office, these apps go a long way to replacing Microsoft's suite for many.

No, Android laptops won't serve any users that aren't already covered well by existing products. What I'd rather see Google make happen is bring Android apps to the chromebook.

With the first touch chromebook already on the market, it makes far more sense to bring Android apps to Chrome OS. These apps would extend the already useful OS by opening it up to the thousands of apps already out there. While many of the apps wouldn't be a good fit for the laptop form, quite a few others would work just fine.

There are some good office suite apps on Android that would open the chromebook up to the enterprise market. While not real Office, these apps go a long way toward replacing Microsoft's suite for many. Chromebooks could waltz right into the enterprise with ease if they could run Android apps.

The enterprise angle aside, chromebooks with Android apps would have outstanding entertainment options. There are lots of good games and media apps on Android that would be right at home on the chromebook touchscreen.

Chromebooks are solid devices without Android, and I'm not suggesting they need the apps to be useful. But if you have a choice to run the apps, then why not?

I'm happy with the Chromebook Pixel I am using, as it is a fine laptop. But when I think of it adding Android apps to the mix, it would be outstanding.

This would be the case of adding utility to an existing group of products, and that's always a good thing. Making an Android laptop that doesn't provide any utility not already possible with existing products serves no purpose. So please, Google, we don't need Android laptops. Give us chromebooks with Android instead.

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Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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