Android on netbooks

News that emerged last week about Hewlett Packard trying out Google’s Android operating system on HP netbooks isn’t all that surprising

Tags: Google IncorporatedHewlett-Packard CompanyUSA
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By  Gareth Van Zyl Published  April 7, 2009

News that emerged last week about Hewlett Packard trying out Google’s Android operating system on HP netbooks isn’t all that surprising.

Bloggers of a website called VentureBeat managed to port Android onto an Asus netbook earlier this year, and, seemingly, it’s not a difficult feat to achieve owing to Android’s Linux-based operating system.

As to whether or not running Android on a netbook would make practical sense though is up for debate. Running an open source operating system on netbooks does drive down the cost of these devices owing to the absence of licensing fees, but why would one choose Android over, let’s say, Ubuntu or Fedora?

I think it’s safe to say that systems such as Ubuntu and Fedora are better options for netbooks as they already have numerous well-developed features while Android is still the new kid on the block. Ubuntu has also been designed with computers in mind while Android has been primarily designed for mobile phones first and mobile internet devices (MIDs) second.

But the reality thus far is that many users who have purchased netbooks running Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, have ended up returning their netbooks to the stores they bought them from. Many users become irritated by the fact that Linux works differently to Windows and even though Linux may offer a wide array of features, it is not that great in the usability stakes. The assumption then is that an Android OS could keep netbooks at a low cost while ensuring that it is simpler for users to grasp.

The usability issues around Linux distributions have opened the door then for Google to gain significantly on Microsoft’s market share in one segment of the computer market that is doing well at the moment. However, before Android potentially makes its debut on the netbook, many in the Middle East will still be asking when Android compatible phones are set to arrive on our shores.

Android is becoming more popular on the mobile phone market by becoming increasingly adopted by big mobile phone makers such as Samsung. It’s rumoured that Samsung’s first Android phone will be made available throughout the rest of the world in June this year. This is potentially good news for the Middle East, and hopefully we’ll soon be able to get our hands on these Android compatible phones before we get our hands on netbooks running Android.

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