Report: HP may offer Android in netbooks

Wall Street Journal says Google OS may make transition from phone arena

Hewlett-Packard is considering offering an operating system platform developed by Google in its netbooks at the expense of Microsoft's Windows OS, according to a recent report.

HP is contemplating using a Linux-based operating system based on Google's Android platform in some netbooks, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources who had been "briefed on the matter". HP is testing the OS for netbooks, but is undecided on whether to offer it, according to the report.

HP officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Most netbooks come with Windows XP, with possible support for the upcoming Windows 7. Google's Android has been traditionally designed for implementation in mobile phones, but has been talked about as a future OS for netbooks.

A number of enthusiasts have tested Android on netbooks including Asustek's Eee PC. Chip makers such as Qualcomm and Freescale are also planning to bring Android to netbooks that run on their Arm-based chips.

Netbooks are small and low-cost devices designed for web browsing and basic tasks like running productivity applications. Android could find a good distribution platform in netbooks from HP, which is the world's largest PC maker. About 10 million netbooks shipped in 2008, with the number expected to double this year, according to IDC.

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