Android to Bring Asus Netbook to Life. Maybe.

Netbook pioneer Asustek has engineers working on bringing a Google Android-based netbook to market by the end of the year.

That’s according to Samson Hu, head of the company’s Eee PC business. But the project is still under development, he said, so it remains to be seen if it will actually come to fruition.

With Android-for-netbooks becoming an ever-louder theme in the industry, it’s a good bet Asus’ plans will end up commercially realized. Android so far powers the T-Mobile USA G1, with other smartphones on the way, but a range of players from NVIDIA to Qualcomm Inc. are focusing on bringing the mobile operating system into the sub-notebook category, for small lightweight devices optimized to run cloud and Web applications. This sub-$500 mobile device category is the fastest-growing segment of the PC world and cracking it would give Google another way to take on Microsoft Corp. while spreading exposure and gaining more eyeballs for its advertising-based Web services suite.

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