Asustek to Make Google Android Netbook, Says Report

Google's Android OS continues to extend its tentacles deeper into Microsoft territory. Two weeks ago Archos announced plans to roll out an Android-based tablet phone later this year, and now netbook-pioneer Asustek says it may install Android on an upcoming, low-cost notebook.

According to a Bloomberg report, Samson Hu, who manages Asustek's successful Asus Eee PC business, says his company has engineers working on an Android-based portable, which may ship by the end of the year. The project isn't a done deal, however, and Asustek apparently is still deciding whether to move forward with the mini-note.

Let's hope that Asustek green-lights the thing. Certainly, the cost benefits of using Google's free, Linux-based operating system are very apparent to a vendor of low-cost netbooks. And Android plays well with low-power, inexpensive processors used in the Eee series. For consumers, a strong competitor to Microsoft is always a good thing. Besides, Android looks promising. It's intuitive and easy to navigate on the T-Mobile G1 smart phone, although it remains to be seen how well Android translates from phone to tablet and netbook.

The timing of Asustek's announcement is somewhat surprising. Earlier this month, the company said it plans to market fewer Eee models to cut production costs and to reduce customer confusion. (Few of us know the difference between the Eee PC S101 and PC 1000H, apparently.) While an Android-based model certainly won't ease consumer confusion, it will benefit users in the long run by helping Google's OS become a legitimate contender to Windows in the notebook PC market.

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