Following a trend towards bringing the Google Android mobile operating system into the world of netbooks, Hewlett-Packard Co. is reportedly testing the open-source OS for netbooks.
The Wall Street Journal reports that “people briefed on the matter” say the No. 1 PC –maker is unsure of any deployment plans.
Android, a Linux-based OS, runs on a handful of current and soon-to-launch handsets, such as the G1 from T-Mobile USA Inc., but is meant to support a range of devices. It’s potential role in the netbook market has been seen as a threat to Microsoft Corp., which along with other computing giants is losing in desktop and laptop sales to the Web-optimized sub-notebook segment.
The problem is that the Vista operating system is too large for most netbooks, meaning vendors have had to rely on the aging and less Internet-savvy Windows XP, or turn to Linux-based alternatives, like Android. Windows still claims 90 percent market share for netbooks, but Google Android could change that.
Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system, due next year, will be optimized for netbooks, so Linux and Android have a window of opportunity.