Asus is about to breached another barrier by being the first company to launch a Netbook with an Android OS, 18 months after having single-handedly launched the Netbook revolution.
Currently the netbook market is dominated by Intel and Asus and mirrors their domination of the desktop and laptop market. Asus has brought together a team of engineered to develop an Android based netbook.
Bloomberg published two articles which points to the fact that Samson Hu, Asus's head honcho in charge the Eee PC business, says that the project is still under development and could be released by year's end.
There are several reasons why Asus could try to develop an Android-based Netbook. There has been definite shift towards making Netbooks more expensive, so much so that they are now rivalling sub-laptops.
Asus has also recently announced that Netbooks will only be available with screens bigger than 10-inch; while this is great news for most users, manufacturers seemed to forget that Netbooks were originally meant to cost around $100, in line with the XO Project (ex OLPC).
This is where Google steps in. Google works on cheaper, less powerful processors and as we suggested a few months ago, a netbook could simply be an overblown smartphone with a decent keyboard.
Freescale could potentially step in to replace Intel chippery inside and Asus would certainly be interested because of the low power consumption (no more overheated laps), tiny size and very low costs.
This in turn means that Asus could potentially bring out netbooks with a lower failure rate (because more components are integrated) and a much higher battery life.
Enthusiasts have already managed to run the Android on an Asus EEE PC before using minor tweaks and it is quite likely that getting Android to work on Netbook would be a doddle.
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Some say that bringing in Android could potentially confuse consumers. But if they are priced at around £100 and with back-to-basics features, they will target another market segment. Asus was smart enough to launch the netbook which rather than causing confusion back then, help sold millions of netbooks to customers.