Google created Android to run on smartphones, but Asus is currently working on a low-cost laptop that will run this operating system.
Asus is the company behind the Eee PC, the device that launched the low-cost subnotebook market, which is doing quite well in these hard economic times. The Eee PC line debuted running Linux, but the version Asus chose has never been very popular. Many have preferred Microsoft Windows, and even the people who stay with Linux often pick a different edition.
In hopes of increasing the appeal of this product line, Samson Hu, the head of the Eee PC division, told Bloomberg that engineers are now at work on a netbook that will use Google's Android.
While it may seem a bit odd to run a smartphone OS on a netbook, Android is actually a modified version of Linux, and several hobbyists have successfully ported it to run on laptops.
An Eee PC running Android would bring several advantages. Probably the biggest of these would be access to the rapidly growing collection of third-party software written for this operating system.
Also, Asus would be able to take advantage of Google's and Android's name recognition.
In addition, Google gives this operating system away for free, so there would be no licensing fees. At the same time, it's putting a great deal of effort into improving Android, which Asus would benefit from.
Asus is already familiar with Google's operating system, as it is developing smartphones based on it. Basing multiple types of devices on a single platform would mean less duplication of effort.
Asus' Samson Hu stopped short of committing to an Android-powered Eee PC. The project is still ongoing, and developers might run into unexpected roadblocks.
If everything comes together, this subnotebook could be released by the end of this year.
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