Android netbooks ahoy?

He's back. He's tanned. He's Your Humble Blogwatcher... In Thursday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches speculation grow over netbooks running Android. Not to mention Fun With Microwaves (the sequel)...

Eric Lai dreams of electric sheep:

Hewlett-Packard Co. may build netbook PCs running Google Inc.'s Linux-based Android operating system ... 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.


Asustek Computer Inc., meanwhile, has said that it  may build an Android netbook. Meanwhile, computer maker Dell Inc. is considering whether to build an Android-based smartphone.

Sam Dean adds narration:

With netbooks becoming such a hot hardware category, I still think Android may find its biggest success on non-phone platforms ... Among other developments on this front, Qualcomm is running Android on its Snapdragon chipset designed for netbooks and mobile Internet devices. (Another Qualcomm chip powers the G1 Android phone.)


The big question here is what chip Android-based netbooks might run. While some hackers have already put Android on x86-based platforms, Android is not officially designed to run on chips such as Intel's Atom.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols replicates emotion: [That's enough Philip K. Dick references -Ed.]

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 ... Google is different ... 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.


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.

Dan Blacharski offers Economics 101:

Price is a big motivator at the low end of the market ... Now all of a sudden, the prospect of a "$100 notebook" isn't just something for giving to kids in remote African villages. We may even see them on the market here in the U.S. one day.

But this isn't the 'droid Ryan Paul's looking for: [Isn't it time you went on vacation again? -Ed.]

Technical experts view the idea with some skepticism. Kernel developer Matthew Garret wrote a blog entry earlier this year questioning the practicality of putting Android on netbooks and criticizing enthusiasts for jumping to conclusions.


Despite the lack of practicality, the buzz around potential Android netbooks continues. I think that this can largely be attributed to Google fetishism ... There are a number of the Google faithful who increasingly view Android as the ultimate solution to every platform problem, regardless of applicability.

Is Casey Chan just such a "fetishist"?

Android is free, open-source, and extremely versatile ... the potential is off the charts ... Having Android on their netbooks would put Android at the forefront of the revolution.

Android in computers? Cool! Android in everyday life? Even better.

Your humble blogwatcher feels somewhat vindicated. He predicted this would happen, four months ago.

And finally...

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email:

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