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HP says it is still far from offering Android on its netbooks

Netbooks are still growing strongly as a category despite the poor economy. Last year, 10 million netbooks shipped globally and that number is expected to double this year. The big draw of a netbook is a low price tag and the small, portable form-factor.

The majority of the netbooks on the market today run Windows. Some of the machine can be had with alternative operating systems based on Linux. Several manufacturers have noted that return rates on netbooks running Linux tend to be higher than returns of Windows-based netbooks.

Dell seems to be one of the few manufacturers not having significantly higher return rates and selling significant numbers of its netbook with Linux installed. Dell says that a full third of the Mini 9 netbooks it sells are running Linux.

The big draw to Linux-based netbooks for manufacturers is that the open source operating system can be free to them and allows them to make higher profit margins while offering a lower cost product. HP has confirmed that it is investigating Google Android as an alternative operating system for its netbooks. Android is a Linux-based operating system that is free for use on devices.

HP points out that it is merely considering the use of Android on its netbooks and is not yet ready to release a product running the Google OS. HP's Marlene Somsak said, "We want to assess the capability it will have for the computing and communications industry. We remain open to considering various OS options."

Some analysts think that it's too early to offer Android on a netbook computer. Analyst Avi Greengart from Current Analysis told Yahoo Tech, "Right now Android is barely finished for phones." Greengart says that while Android works well enough for T-Mobile's G1 smartphone, Android has only been on the market for a year and "the UI still feels half-finished."

HP says that engineers have been assigned to porting Android to its netbooks but no decision has been reached to offer the OS at this point. HP isn’t the only firm looking at the possibility of offering Android on devices other than smartphones. Qualcomm and Freescale plan to add Android compatibility to netbooks running ARM processors.

The biggest problem with a netbook running an alternative OS like Android or Linux to the end user is that it requires learning something new. Many people have been using Windows and applications designed to work on Windows for decades and have no desire to learn something new.

Research manager David Daoud from IDC said, "We've seen a number of netbooks returned as a result of the Linux OS. Consumers are used to the Microsoft Windows world." The rate of adoption for alternative OS' like Linux is particularly low in matured markets like the U.S. and Western Europe according to Daoud. These are also two of the markets where it is very important that the product do well.

Daoud does say that if HP can get Android to run on its netbooks and the machines that they could see popularity in emerging markets like India and China where Linux is more popular. The netbooks could also help vastly expand the Android user base.

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By mondo1234 on 4/1/2009 2:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
Dell says that a full third of the Mini 9 netbooks it sells are running Linux.

I think one third is huge (IMHO). I dont know if that number will rise with dell, but it might with other manufactures. Only time will tell if Win7 Starter will change that, but I dont care to have an OS that is crippled to 3 apps. Netbooks aside, I know more of the major players in smart phones are also looking at android instead of winmo, even with MS incentive pay. Hopefully MS will turn up the heat.

By JonnyBlaze on 4/1/2009 2:51:27 PM , Rating: 5
people just buy it with linux then put a pirated windows on it

By mforce on 4/1/2009 6:12:09 PM , Rating: 3
While that might be true for PCs and people do that a lot it's harder when it comes to netbooks.
Sure ,you can still put Windows on a Linux netbook but keep in mind it doesn't have an optical drive and from what I know installing Windows without one isn't all that easy. At least with Windows XP. I really doubt the average person buying a netbook with Linux is going to hack stuff , use an USB stick and bla bla ...
Most likely they'll just stick to Linux as it does the basic stuff they need like email, surf the web , IM. They probably don't miss Photoshop or other Windows only programs so much.
Still as it's the 1st of April I've been hearing many people are still complaining and waiting for MS to port IE to Linux so they can finally enjoy the internet :))

By weskurtz0081 on 4/1/2009 7:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
You can just use an external optical drive to install an OS on a netbook..... they plug in with a USB cable. I have done it before on an older notebook that didn't have an optical drive installed.

By Moishe on 4/1/2009 4:05:54 PM , Rating: 2
What surprises me is how small of an ability to accept change consumers must have.

I have an Eee with Xandros and it is VERY similar to windows. It's so easy and automatic I don't see why anyone would want to return it. The only problem I've had with it is that it comes with OOo 2 and I wanted to put OOo 3+ on it and couldn't get it working.

By mondo1234 on 4/1/2009 6:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
I think his first sentence was the point:

What surprises me is how small of an ability to accept change consumers must have.

People dont like change. But, change is on its way, and MS knows it. For $350-$500 for MS office, you shouldnt need much support, just a deeper pocket. Thats something that goes against one of the design goals for low cost netbook anyway. If money is no object, just buy a Sony UMPC.
I have never been under the impression that you have to have MS software to get a device to work. I think there is alot of support for what described with a simple net search. I use Windows, Linux and OSX, I dont think any of them are bad, just different. They all have their pros and cons. With Linux, once you get Synaptic set up, you should be good to go. The Synaptic Repository in Linux works well, but its not MS. It doesn't make it a bad product, just different.

By TomZ on 4/2/2009 12:07:44 AM , Rating: 2
Who pays $350-500 for Office? Nobody. That's about as common as buying a Dell and paying list price.

For example, Newegg has Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Licensed for 3 PCs - Retail for $89.95 w/free shipping. And of course most businesses are licensing in volume.

By mondo1234 on 4/2/2009 1:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
Who pays $350-500 for Office? Nobody

Not if you need MS Access. I know for a fact that Municipalities and Major Businesses dont use "Home and Student". I work with two major municipalities IT departments that state that to add new windows machines, it takes about $550 in software which is mostly Windows and Office Professional.

Title/Sub-title a little confusing
By acase on 4/1/2009 2:54:16 PM , Rating: 5
HP Confirms Consideration of Android for Netbook OS

HP says it is still far from offering Android on its netbooks

Sorry Shane but I assumed Mick wrote that title and subtitle when I first read them. I understand they don't directly conflict, but the tones are completely different and just make it confusing.

RE: Title/Sub-title a little confusing
By TomZ on 4/1/2009 3:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. It sounds like HP thought about Android, then decided against it. Is that newsworthy?

"Man thinks about having sex with 1000 women today, but decides against it. Story at 10."

By mondo1234 on 4/1/2009 6:49:10 PM , Rating: 3
Or how bout:

Man thinks about having sex with 1000 women today, but decides against it and takes matters into his own hands. Story at 10 after Desperate Housewives

RE: Title/Sub-title a little confusing
By MozeeToby on 4/1/2009 4:01:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's because "HP Confirms They Were Considering Looking Into Using Android But Have Put the Plans on Hold Indefinately" doesn't make as good of a headline.

By wvh on 4/1/2009 4:51:47 PM , Rating: 1
... because of the spelling mistake, right? ;)

Sounds great
By MikeMurphy on 4/1/2009 2:05:47 PM , Rating: 5
If Google pours enough resources into it with an emphasis on ease-of-use I can see it being quickly adopted.

It would be hugely refreshing to see such a large player take a swing at MS on their home field.

Where is the HP girl?
By hydrata on 4/1/2009 4:35:44 PM , Rating: 4
I thought we had an understanding that every HP article got the hot HP girl

By oopyseohs on 4/1/2009 9:18:32 PM , Rating: 2
How would Android fare on a netbook from a features standpoint? I have only used my friend's G1 very briefly, but it seems that the UI of Android could be pretty appropriate for a netbook. Would you need a touch screen?

RE: Features
By Mojo the Monkey on 4/2/2009 1:32:21 PM , Rating: 2
Need? No. I think adding a mouse cursor would work just fine. I'm excited to see a new OS enter the field of ACTUAL consideration by the everyday consumer.

It's official
By quiksilvr on 4/1/2009 2:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
Google will take over the world.

By brightstar on 4/1/2009 4:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
Who knows maybe Google will be the one to finally bring Linux to the masses. I fear though that all the great Ideas that Linux has will be put aside for some proprietary bs from Google

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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