Android-powered netbooks predicted for 2009

Android-powered netbooks predicted for 2009

Summary: According to analysts, Google's mobile OS could become the platform of choice for lower-end mini laptops, rather than full-fat flavors of Linux traditionally associated with the desktop.

Android-powered netbooks will emerge in 2009, analysts are predicting.

According to market watchers Ovum, Google's mobile OS could become the platform of choice for lower-end mini laptops, rather than full-fat flavors of Linux traditionally associated with the desktop, such as Ubuntu.

The laptop market is becoming increasingly complex, according to Laurent Lachal, open-source research director at Ovum, with a growing variety of low-cost netbooks and laptops now on offer.

While Linux netbook sales are increasingly lagging Windows ones, the analyst reckons Android could help reverse the trend.

Linux vendors should focus on "specialized distributions, especially Android", said Lachal, who predicts a new generation of 'no frills', sub-$200 netbooks will emerge later this year — for which Android is a better fit than generic Linux distributions.

"Google strengthened its position with the February 2009 announcement that it will now allow developers to charge for applications on Android Market," he said in a statement, adding that internet-connectivity and online stores will be "key to the success" of these more basic netbooks.

"From that perspective, Android benefits from increasing support from developers/ISVs [independent software vendors]," he added.

Last year software company Wind River Systems, a member of the Android-supporting Open Handset Alliance, suggested Android could find its way onto TVs, set-top boxes and cars this year.

This article was originally posted on

Topics: Operating Systems, Android, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Linux, Mobility, Open Source, Software

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  • 4 words:

    Pie in the sky.

    People want to load software on netbooks. I'm not sure when netbook started to mean "underpowered machine for web surfing in a small form factor".

    People really want something like a Sony P but with nvidia graphics and multiple cores. And they will be happy to pay for that level of performance.

    • 3 words:

      The economy sucks.

      People aren't happy to pay for anything they don't need in a down economy. They want something that gets the job done well for the least amount of overall cost.

      I'm not sure Android is the answer to that, but I'm damned sure an overpowered tiny computer with ninty minutes' worth of battery life isn't the answer either.
      Michael Kelly
      • Yes, economy sucks

        and that will play against the netbook in general.

        Come one. You have $300 to spend. Do you get a "real" notebook from a no-frills brand like Gateway, and be able to anything you want, or do you blow $200 on a cheapo limited purpose netbook?

        A netbook is a luxury item period. In a limited economy, people will get the idea that have the most use - and that's a laptop.
        • Your assumption only works

          if you assume a netbook has to be a limited purpose tool. And that's only the case with Windows. However I would grant the point that if Android, in its current state, were to be used then it would be a limited tool as well.

          There's only two things I would not attempt on my netbook that I would do on my laptop, and that's multimedia encoding and 3D gaming. Most people who would be in the market for a netbook would need neither. And we're well past the days of buying a computer because you *MIGHT* want to do something you don't really plan on doing. That's especially true in this economy.
          Michael Kelly
          • Cheap Netbook

            Hmm, Call it something other than Linux and people will buy it 'cause it's cool?
            Well, I guess I like OS X because it's Unix 8)
            But seriously, I'm not going to spend NZ$500 or so on a crippled Android netbook when a full Windows XP based one is only $100 or so more. The thing is, it the netbook is capable of Windows XP, then it will easily run Ubuntu.
            My Acer Aspire One is great, I can do everything I need, the only thing I cant do is use Microsoft's Applications, and apart from Office Communicator, I don't miss them at all.
            iPhone shows that 3D gaming is possible on these small devices as well, you just need a good and cheap 3D chipset or feature specification and FAST open source drivers.
    • If it's pie in the sky...

      then don't look up!
  • Major app missing to make this feasible

    None of the office suites available on the Android now cut the mustard. If they can get OpenOffice ported to Android then watch it take off. If they can't, well, Google Docs won't cut it for everybody, and even now Docs is not fully functional on Android.
    Michael Kelly
    • Since Android is Linux, it will be extremely simple to get OpenOffice

      running on Android. There is really no "porting", just a recompile, and making sure the libraries it needs are present. OpenOffice will require more RAM, but, that is getting cheaper every day.
    • Another issue is the porting of a full version of Chrome to Android/Linux.

      The browser for Android is not full Chrome. They could use Firefox, but, . . .
      • Flash too

        If we're going with a full browser we'll need all the goodies that implies.

        I know there's an ARM port but I have no idea whether or not it is full featured.
        Michael Kelly
      • Another thought

        If a full Chrome were ported then maybe that would fully support Docs, so there would be the office suite. However an offering of OOo would still bring a wider audience.
        Michael Kelly
  • The wild card might Androids ability to support Arm. That will allow

    cheaper Android netbooks with longer battery life, and performance equal to Atom.

    Combine cheaper, longer battery live with the Google brand, and there will be a lot of units sold.
  • RE: Android-powered netbooks predicted for 2009

    Imagine us, HAVING TO use Android market to install things like OpenOffice.
    Android is not so open as Ubuntu (i.e.) or other distros are.
    The fact than AMR would be bether than Athom is true (in price and power consuption), but not at the price of lost freedom to install apps.
    • Well, untill we see how the Android netbook OS is delivered, we won't know.

      They may allow software to be installed from the standard repositories. In any case, Android is open source and OEMs can allow anything they want.
    • You do not have to use Android market

      Android allows for installations of programs downloaded manually. There is an option to prevent installations outside the market, but it's three taps of a finger to select or deselect this option. Just download an .apk file to your SD card and open it in a file manager, and poof it installs the program.
      Michael Kelly
      • Thanks, I also hope we can just use apt-get as well.

        I for one will want to be able to install from the standard Linux repositories.
  • Android too big for its boots

    Android will have to prove itself on mobile devices before buyers will see non branded OS on Notebooks.Think the talk is unrealistic and high jinx.With Ubantu,Opensolaris,and windows 7 the notebook market will be flooded with the entry of Android to followed by Symbian or Apple Iphone OS.Consolidation will happen very shortly in this market so don't invest too much cash as the market may crash here!!!!
    The Management consultant