HP, Asus, Others Prepare to Deploy Android on Netbooks

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Google still isn't saying publicly that they're going to deploy Android as a desktop Linux, but HP, ASUS, and other major computer makers are apparently in talks with the company about deploying Android on netbooks.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Satjiv Chahil, a vice president in HP's PC division, declined to comment on whether the world's largest PC maker will sell either netbooks or smartphones running Android but confirmed that HP is "studying" the free operating system.


We already know that Android will work as a desktop operating system, because it's already been done. And, it was done not by some hackers whose second language is C++, but by a pair of journalists. If we can do it, anyone can do it. :-)

The usual response to the idea of a desktop Linux from Ubuntu, Novell or Red Hat or anyone else is a loud cry of 'nonsense,' from the Windows crowd. Android, however, is different.

I can tell you what the differences are between Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora and half-a-dozen other Linux desktop variants off the top of my head. Let's be real, though, no one except a Linux enthusiast could do that. Most PC users might know that Linux is another operating system, and they might know that Red Hat is a big Linux company and that Ubuntu is a popular version of Linux. That's it.

But, Google, Google is different. Anyone who uses a computer knows Google. Someone who might be reluctant to try a PC running anything except Windows, and Windows XP by choice, might very well be willing to give a Google-powered netbook a try. Come to think of it, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if there are some people out there who think they already are running Google on their desktops.

Think about it. How do they find things on the Web? They 'Google' for it. The company name has already become a common verb in English and other languages. How do many people check their mail? They use GMail. What they do they check for news? They use Google News.

Going from this to using a PC that actually runs Google isn't much of a jump at all. Sure it will be the Google Android Linux desktop underneath it, but most people won't care about that anymore than they care about the Google's search engine's Linux underpinnings. All they'll know is that their netbook or laptop is running something by a name they already know and trust. And, since these computers will be based on Linux, they'll cost less than their brothers running Windows.

Earlier this year, I suggested that 2009 would be the perfect year for Google to take Microsoft head-on on the desktop. With this news that serious PC vendors are already tinkering with setting up Android-based netbooks, I'm now predicting it will happen in 2009.

This story, "HP, Asus, Others Prepare to Deploy Android on Netbooks" was originally published by Computerworld.

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