Android on Netbooks!

21 Feb 2009|Leigh Marinner

I guess we should have seen this coming. Chipmaker Freescale announced this week it aims to sell Google Android Netbooks. I’ve been thinking of Google’s Android as only a cell phone operating system. But as cell phones increasingly provide easy mobile access to the Internet, Android is a natural for netbooks – inexpensive computers made for easy Web browsing on the go. Netbooks have shown huge growth in the last year, and may be the way the Android OS achieves bigger market share.
Google is making Android available to device makers for free — hoping the investment will eventually pay off in advertising revenue.
Android presence on netbooks is a direct threat to Windows, not just Windows Mobile. Since netbooks are inexpensive, manufacturers are looking for any way to save costs, and Windows is more expensive. Windows currently has about a 70% share on netbooks, which is lower than its share of the overall PC market.
Android is predicated on letting consumers rather than Google or a mobile carrier decide what services they have access to while mobile.

Wireless carriers have often called the shots on what consumers see on cell phones, taking a cut of revenues from providers of add-on services and software. Google is trying to make the process more open and less expensive. Developers have virtually unfettered access to the marketplace. Eventually mobile carriers may recognize the data revenue benefits of a more robust ecosystem if they relinquish control over what apps appear on handsets, but there is little sign of this in the US in the short term.

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