Android netbooks? Wouldn't it be loverly?

Android netbooks? Wouldn't it be loverly?

Summary: Once again, fellow blogger, Jason Perlow, has hit on a concept entirely useful to business users, but perhaps even more useful in education. The idea of an Android-based netbook isn't entirely new, Jason hits the nail on the head in his post:What we really should be thinking about for netbooks is Android, not Ubuntu.

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Once again, fellow blogger, Jason Perlow, has hit on a concept entirely useful to business users, but perhaps even more useful in education. The idea of an Android-based netbook isn't entirely new, Jason hits the nail on the head in his post:

What we really should be thinking about for netbooks is Android, not Ubuntu. With Android, Google has really thought out about what should go into a digital convergence OS. It’s got an excellent built in browser and its interface is as good as anything Apple has, and because it is open source, it would allow multiple manufacturers to use it. Price point of an Android netbook? I’m thinking $300 or less.

Regular readers should know that I'm a huge Ubuntu fan. Will it replace OS X for me? No, not anytime soon. Will it replace Windows wherever I can reasonably deploy it and still meet my users' needs? You bet. However, a $300 Android netbook would sit at that golden price versus functionality point that would be a deal-changer in Ed Tech.

Google is getting there in terms of offline Google Apps. Add to this a solid browser and a growing community of developers and you have one heck of a little device that could easily be customized for K-12. Look at OpenSUSE's educational community (en.opensuse.org/Education): a dedicated core of developers has created an incredible software repository both on the server and desktop side that drastically expands OpenSUSE's ability to meet the needs of educators. Unfortunately, it hasn't seen the uptake it deserves due to a variety of market factors.

Google, on the other hand, is already an established brand, both inside and outside of education. Cheap netbooks running Google software with an active community of developers focusing on education? It's affordable 1:1 nirvana. Thanks, Perlow...now if we can just find someone to start building these things...

Topics: Android, Google, Software Development

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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11 comments
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  • privacy ?

    I know the trend for people is wanting to have the maximum things for free (not realizing the fact that they will have to pay for something in the end in one way or another), but come on, having a laptop with a "free" OS, not coming from a community but from a private company instead, whose business is 100% based on advertizing...

    I guess you're the same kind of guy that is likely to tell everyone how privacy matters to him...

    Note : i'm not saying it won't happen, i'm just saying you seem so naive with your "wouldn't it be lovely ?".
    Obiwan421
    • open source....

      Android is open source which means you can rip the entire Google integration out of it if you wanted to use it for a netbook product without being tied to their services.

      It amazes me how so many fail to understand this concept. Both Sprint and AT&T have made the same mistake in talking about Android needing to use other services besides Google. Well take the OS and use other services besides Google if thats what you want...
      storm14k
  • Also, if they were Arm based, they would be cheaper and use less energy.

    For education, having netbooks that also went 12 hours on a charge would make them a lot more useful.
    DonnieBoy
  • I can see Chrome , but Android? No thanks

    Why would anyone want to run a dumbed down operating environment that is tailored for a smartphone with a tiny screen on a more powerful netbook with a larger screen?

    I might be missing something but Android is not only a light weight environment but it is also a closed system. Whaaa?

    Chrome on top of a Linux kernal or even Windows XP makes better sense for a netbook. You can run the full complement of internet capabilities, too.

    I suppose this is just another fun lab experiment for the sake of it.
    Prognosticator
    • He is assuming they would put the work into making a special version for

      a netbook class device. That would include a different window manager, and different default applications.

      I could see an Arm netbook that has the Google brand, and goes 12 hours on a charge being VERY popular. They could even make a special version of Chrome tailored to the smaller screen!
      DonnieBoy
      • Better sense. thanks..but forget ARM

        Good clarification and I agree long battery life netbooks are interesting but they are not too shabby right now.

        I would really like to see a netbook with a VERY FAST BOOT - like 3 seconds, runs 6-8 hours on a charge with wifi on and 32GB or so of SSD! All I really need to run Firefox for 95% of my work. For gravy, perhaps a dual boot Windows XP and more memory.

        Forget ARM. There is no need for some alien smartphone processor on a larger screen device that needs special ARM ports of the near infinite number of plugins, codecs, and drivers out there.
        Prognosticator
        • Well, as Ubuntu is porting to Arm, it is going to get much easier to use

          Arm for netbooks. I think the power savings would be worth it. You can either have a smaller battery, and thus a thinner and lighter netbook, or longer battery life. For those international flights, when you can only afford the cheap seats, it would be nice to have 12 hours!
          DonnieBoy
        • Remembering ARM and the 12" netbook

          "Forget ARM."

          The operating system already supports the processor, and flash support is in the works. I'm quite sure there are codecs available for smartphones already. As for drivers, I suppose there may be a problem if you attempt to connect a printer to your netbook but any internal components ought to be supported.

          "For gravy, perhaps a dual boot Windows XP and more memory."

          And a larger keyboard... and an even larger screen... and more RAM so you can run Windows Vista/7... and more ports... and an even larger screen... and a 2.5" harddrive... and Windows pre-installed... and what you are left with is a laptop.
          We've been through this before.
          Theli
        • I've got one of these!

          A TRS Model 100. . . ;-)
          Sodbuster41
  • RE: Android netbooks? Wouldn't it be loverly?

    How about a dumb notebook-shaped terminal onto which an Android handset docks as its central processor? For an added cost of $150 you get Android in handset as well as net-book form-factors.
    rajkumar47
  • RE: Android netbooks? Wouldn't it be loverly?

    It makes sense to have Android on netbooks, especially as easy to use Linux alternative for non x86 processors.
    See also http://www.eeejournal.com/2009/02/netbook-processors-operating-systems.html
    demysc