Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
During the holiday season of 2009 when netbooks were the hot commodity
, Apple lost share in the PC market. It had nothing to compete with the sunken prices and shrunken sizes of those miniature laptops. PC vendors such as ASUS and Acer, on the other hand, did well in the netbook segment, as they could call on their expertise in building inexpensive Windows notebooks.
After the iPad's introduction, though, the tablets were turned. While many PC vendors loathed the low profitability of netbooks, they were now faced with competing with their own products. With the exception of HP, which shelled out billions of dollars for webOS, the iPad set PC vendors scrambling to choose which operating system might best compete. Is it Windows, the devil they know, or Android, where they have far less experience than competitors from the smartphone market?Switched On
has already taken on the role that Windows might play in future tablets
, but what about Honeycomb? In contrast to the original version of Android, which was in the works prior to the introduction of the iPhone, Honeycomb arrived a year after the iPad. Android licensees, particularly smartphone vendors, surely beseeched Google for a tablet-optimized version of their preferred mobile OS. But Google may also be a victim of the iPad's jujitsu.