It’s starting to look like we will be seeing netbooks running Google’s Android operating system pretty soon. While Google initially pushed the operating system for cellphones, it can run at least as well on low power computers like netbooks and offers many of the features you’d expect from a desktop operating system including a built in web browser and support for third party applications.

Last month Asus announced that it’s looking at building an Android-powered netbook. And today there are two bits of news out of Google that seem to indicate the company may be working with netbook makers — or at least planning for a future where Android is adopted by computer makers.

DigiTimes reports that Google has set up a team in Taiwan to support Android products. A huge portion of the world’s cellphones and computers are produced in Taiwan. And while it’s possible that Google just wants to have some people on hand to work with cellphone makers, DigiTimes seems to think that netbooks are on the menu as well.

In related news, Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently told analysts that netbooks offer an opportunity for advertising supported services. Google’s pretty good at making money from advertising. And while the company has primarily focused on ad-supported web-based services that can be accessed from any computer or internet connected device, there’s no reason we couldn’t see some of those services integrated more tightly into a computer operating system. Like say, Android on a netbook.

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17 replies on “Evidence of Google Android powered netbooks grows”

  1. Those people comfortable with linux are comfortable about installing new operating systems. Most of the rest of us expect that the computer that we purchase starts with a good operating system. Apparently this is not the case for most netbooks sold with linux. I can’t understand why manufacturers or re-sellers don’t provide a desirable linux distribution. Is it that Taiwan companies choose linux distributions that work well with Asian languages but aren’t as good with the roman alphabet? Or is that they cripple linux in order to make it appear simple? Android appears to be especially crippled. I am sorry if these are ignorant questions, but most of us are ignorant about linux.

  2. I think the only reason to put android on a netbook are ARM processors. They fit more those types of devices since they use less power while offering the same performance. Thing is, those processors are able to run full OSes if they were available. That means, OS developers will start to focus on those processors and it will happen the same thing that happens currently on phones, dozens of different OSes to choose.

  3. “Why do people aloways have the misconseption that using linux is hard, is this from just trying a single distro that is preloaded on netbooks? ”

    Of course…..and WHY shouldn’t they feel that way. The biggest problem of Linux distrubtions that are good are the ones that are s-h-i-t. And most netbooks coming out of Taiwan and going to have the low quality & hard to upgrade distrubtions of Linux.

  4. So long as one’s distro of choice can be installed, I really don’t care what comes preinstalled, so long as it’s free, so won’t be money down the drain to replace and/or further distort Microsoft’s sales figures.

  5. Why do people aloways have the misconseption that using linux is hard, is this from just trying a single distro that is preloaded on netbooks?

    I wouldn’t use the distros that are on most netbooks, however that doesn’t mean that linux isn’t easy to use.

    One poster made a point about how difficult it is to install software and stuff under linux, may I suggest you try ubuntu, all you have to do then to install software is type “sudo apt-get install SOFTWARENAME” that’s it the rest is done for you, and if you prefer a GUI there is a perfectly good manager installed as well that lets you browse thousands of pieces of software.

    People judge linux way too quickly, may I suggest to those people that t6hey download virtualbox(virtual machine software) and a copy of ubuntu and give it a go, see just how easy and user friendly it really is.

  6. i don’t get all this need to run “weird” operating systems stuff.

    i tried linux on a EEE PC701 and wasted a lot of time trying to get it to do what I wanted – install more fonts for word processing. A lot of people tried to help but in the end, something that is SO SIMPLE under Windows and MacOS was just too hard.

    I ended up installing Windows on the machine and it runs fine. Doesn’t even take that much longer to boot up once you set up the hibernate option.

    Yes there will be a lot of computer newbies who could happily run Linux devices to check email and surf the web but I bet more people are comfortable using Windows XP from prior experience.

    Vista is a user nightmare for upgraders. I tried it on a new laptop a friend bought. Ended up downgrading to XP just so it would run fast enough to make it feel like a new laptop for him. Windows 7 is obviously an improvement according to blogs but I think most people are happy with XP – it’s familiar, it works and the when it doesn’t there’s plenty of expertise around. MS will have a hard job convincing me to pay for an upgrade. I bet a lot of people will feel the same.Win7 will only gain a foothold once they stop selling prior versions and pre-installing it on new machines.

    I know many of you will not agree with the above but I also know many Linux users also feel it is more difficult to use (I had a lot of supportive people email me about the fonts stuff who said there are lots of things like this that need improving if it is ever to be more than an enthusiast toy). As a backroom server OS I’m sure it is great. For netbooks and consumers? Not so sure.

    1. To add more fonts in Linux is very simple. Open your Home folder and create a new folder with all of the fonts that you want to add (I have several hundred in mine) and then rename that folder to .fonts (it will then automatically become a hidden folder). The next time you open Abiword or whatever all of your fonts will be displayed there…….see how easy that is when you know how.

      1. hi there

        thanks for your help – see, the answer was easier than anything anyone else offered me.

        trouble is, i’m a bit of a font-a-holic…

        if the new fonts folder becomes a hidden folder (after doing what you suggested) how do you add new fonts later on?

        it’s little things like this that make Linux hard for non-users.

        i actually like MacOS’s way of just double clicking on a font file, it previews it and then gives you a button to install it if you want.

        perhaps the biggest problem with Linux is everyone wants their own version. they’ve now splintered the code base (and fan base) and have varying qualities which only makes people get protective over “their” version and why it’s better than everyone else’s.

        it doesn’t work with Windows either… 7 versions is rediculous but MS don’t seem to have learnt from that stupidity and look to continue it this time around with Win7.

        MacOS does it right. One version for EVERYONE. simple.

        perhaps a few Linux distros need to be trimmed – it’s very confusing with so any around and so many politic points of view on “which is best”.

        maybe a version that worked like Windows would sway more people to try it… build in WINE etc and customise it look more like 99% of us are used. there probably is a version like this already but i’m not knowing about it due to the “noise” of all the competing versions… 🙂

        PS good to see some positive input on this contentious issue rather than the expected flame war…

        1. To see the hidden folders… the Home Folder and at the top click on “View” and select “Show Hidden Files”.
          If you want to add some fonts from Synaptic do a search for Larabie…..these will self-install OK but I’ve never checked to see where they actually go.

        2. @wayne

          I’m not sure that a version that a windows clone would be a good solution. the more a Linux distribution looks like windows, the more likely it is that somebody will attempt to install windows software on it, and freak out when it doesn’t work. Additionally, the power of Linux is that it can be configured to do so much more than windows, so a windows clone would simply be holding it back.

          What Linux needs to go mainstream a working app store, and android has that. Once people realize that all software you could possibly want is a couple of clicks away in a central location, the old windows model of hunting and gathering software will seem quaint.

  7. After a bit of research, I have learned that Android is based on (delian?) linux but, to the best of my understanding, can’t access much linux applications software. Again, my apology for any errors in this brief summary.

    1. I am not sure why anyone would want an Android based netbook. It is a nice phone OS but lacks a ton of the feature of a standard Linux distro. No Flash support, no Java support, minimal email features, etc.

      An ubuntu netbook has everything you need at no additional cost.

  8. For me, netbooks are ideal because a) theyre small, b) they’re cheap, and most importantly, c) they can run desktop-grade OSs and associated software. Is there a big percentage of netbook users just interested in web browsing and basic word processing to bring the kind of demand for ARM/Android (or non-Intel) that would make them as popular as current netbooks? Im asking out of genuine curiosity because of my newness to netbooks (and my experiences using one as a laptop)

    1. I would estimate that perhaps 90% of netbook buyers do nothing more than browse the web, create documents and spreadsheets, watch movies, and listen to music. This is based upon a sample of five people I know who own netbooks. I am sure that the remainder are techie nerds running photoshop, autocad, World of Warcraft and god knows what else.

      Honestly, android on a netbook might be the best of both worlds, the reliability and ease of use of linux, coupled with a easy to use app store, plus multi-day battery life? Yeah, I’d buy that.

      1. Yep – and from Google’s standpoint this pushes users to the browser for their applications rather than the OS. That is good for Gmail, Docs, et all.

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