updated 03:40 pm EST, Fri February 20, 2009
ASUS Android Netbook
ASUS on Friday said it has been developing a netbook based on Google's Android platform. The company's Eee PC division lead, Samson Hu, informs Bloomberg that engineers have been tasked with readying one of the mini notebooks for a tentative end-of-year release window. While specifications aren't known, the smartphone-oriented operating system demands less resources than Windows XP and is usually optimized for ARM processors and touchscreen displays.
Hu warns that the system is still early enough in development that it may not become a final product.
An Eee PC or similar netbook running Android may be damaging to Microsoft, which has largely managed to supplant Linux in netbooks but has been unable to penetrate the low-cost end of the market. Microsoft's insistence on charging a licensing fee for each computer has pushed ASUS, Dell and others to use free Linux distributions instead and lower the minimum price.
Requiring Windows has also encouraged the use of Intel Atom processors, which at times struggle to run certain software features smoothly; Android as a Linux-based mobile OS is designed to run on as little as a 200MHz ARM processor and potentially lowers the cost of the components needed to run common tasks.