I've seen the buzz back and forth about Android and cloud computing, which has apparently raged for awhile. I'm trying to understand it. I'm a relative newcomer to the site and there is still much I don't know. I'm writing this as a real question. Phones, media players and the like are not computing platforms, so it is easy to understand why those are off-topic. There are some fuzzy areas for me
Arduino is on-topic, but it isn't what I would call a computing platform. Why is that on topic?
There are a number of "micro-OSs", mostly stripped down versions of Linux, that are used to operate "smart devices". Those aren't really computing platforms and those are on-topic.
Before smartphones, there were Palm devices. I owned several and ran emulations of the MS Office applications that approached the lightweight applications bundled with some Linux distros. It appears Palm is on-topic, although there aren't questions about it these days. BlackBerries followed. I didn't own one, but they were at least as robust as Palm devices. The wiki excerpt for the blackberry tag says it's on-topic only if the device is connected to the computer, which is a method of synching and then using it as a remote extension of your desktop applications. So it isn't clear to what extent BlackBerry is on-topic.
Early smart phones weren't what I would call computing platforms. However, what is being offered now are some pretty robust tablets that also make phone calls. Some of these are good mobile stand-ins for a "real" computer. Apparently, any device with a built-in phone is off-topic. Although, you can Skype with most computers, so that can't be the criterion.
Then you have the migration from luggables to laptops to notebooks to tablets. Many of today's tablets are far more capable than the luggables or early laptops. However, at some size, they are suddenly off-topic regardless of their capabilities. Is the key factor screen size (below a certain size, you can't effectively do serious applications)?
Android is based on the Linux kernel. It's used on many devices that aren't computing platforms, but nothing precludes it from being used for more powerful applications. It's my impression that there are Android tablets that run applications similar in capability to what you would find on notebooks. Android is off-topic.
Cloud computing has been pretty widely argued. Some say it is the future of computing. We're at the point where you can do almost any application on a cloud-based device that you can on a "real" computer. Cloud-based computing is off-topic. Why are we excluding what is becoming a huge portion of the computing universe? Do we risk becoming a "buggy whip" web site at some point, where we simply lose relevance to the external world?
Computing has fundamentally changed over time. At one time, your home or office computer was where you did your computing. Things became more mobile. Today, people's computing environment is wherever they are. People either sync mobile devices in order to work remotely or use some form of cloud-based computing for some portion of their workflow. So what is the logic behind drawing a circle around a portion of that system and saying inside the circle is on-topic, outside is not?
Are there Stack Exchange sites that deal with Android or cloud computing issues?
I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the logic behind the rules. In most cases, I know what the rules are--what's in and what's out. I'm having trouble understanding why they are what they are. I assume it's more substantive than "because that's the way it is", or "because we said so", or "because it's always been that way". Can anyone explain this to me?