Android Netbooks Cometh

Michael Vizard

Most of the discussion surrounding the Android operating system from Google has been understandably focused on the smartphone. Meanwhile, most discussion of the netbook has been on the battle shaping up between Microsoft and Apple.

And yet, during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) it's become clear that netbooks running Android will start to appear in 2010. For example, during the CES keynote presentation of Qualcomm CEO Dr. Paul Jacobs, Hewlett-Packard showed a netbook running Android on top of a 1GHz Snapdragon chipset from Qualcomm.

According to Jacobs, Snapdragon makes an ideal netbook platform because the architecture in its first generation can already process 2 billion instructions per second. In fact, Snapdragon is already scheduled to be used in another netbook from Lenovo, which runs an OS that like Android is based on Linux.

Like Apple and Microsoft, Google is expected to start touting the touch-screen experience of the Android operating system on a netbook. In fact, Google has already built an ecosystem around the Google Android operating system, called the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), and companies such as Acer and Asus are expected to join HP in rolling out netbooks based on Android.

Qualcomm is rapidly positioning itself for a showdown with Intel, Nvidia and AMD, all of which have ambitions in the netbook space. The question a lot of people will have in the future, however, is whether the netbook is going to emerge as an extension of the smartphone category, or as a lower end extension of notebooks. Only time will tell.

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