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 flavours 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 "specialised 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.