Android was intended from the outset to be an OS that could support devices beyond smartphones. And the fast-growing netbook market is one in which Android may see considerable adoption. The Wall Street Journal reports that Dell is considering building netbooks using the Android OS instead of Linux or Windows.
The first netbook to use Android is from a Chinese company called SkyTone. HP and other PC makers are looking at Android for netbooks as well. One of the chief attractions of Android for netbook makers is the fact that it’s open source and so it helps them with margins that are much thinner for the min-PCs.
On Google’s Q1 earnings call April 16, CEO Eric Schmidt said the following about Android:
“Android is going to have a very strong year. There are announcements happening between now and the end of the year that are quite significant with operators and hardware manufacturers.”
He added that he saw netbooks and other similar devices as a very promising area for future Android development.
If these netbook rumors prove to be true, Google is potentially going to give Microsoft a run for its money — literally — in two critical areas of Microsoft’s business: PC and mobile OS. Netbooks are the one growth area of the PC market and the softness in PC sales more generally has been felt by Redmond in its recent earnings — though the company now claims Windows is the leading OS on netbooks.
Several years ago there were persistent rumors of a “Google PC.” With netbooks, in a slightly different way, those rumors may start to come true.