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HP To Release ARM-based, Google Android Netbooks

HP, the world's biggest PC manufacturer, could be considering plans to build Netbooks based on Google's Android and using ARM platform.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Satjiv Chahil, a vice president at HP's PC division, declined to say whether the American manufacturer has plans to sell Android-based netbooks.

But the executive added that "We want to assess the capability Android may have for the computer and communications industries, and so we are studying it".

Originally, both Android and ARM were destined to build smartphones that offer the same functionality and performance as netbooks. But ARM-based netbooks will, not only be extremely thin, but also frugal when it comes to power consumption.

The news will surely make Intel and Microsoft worry, especially as manufacturers will seek to slash costs in the wake of a deeper-than-expected recession. HP's move could also herald a race against time in Taiwan and Southern China.

ODM Pegatron showed new Netbook designs at the recent CES 2009 in Las Vegas and semiconductor company Freescale has presented a platform that could eventually replace Intel.

Back in February, Bloomberg wrote an article about the head of Asus EEE division, Samson Hu, saying that an Android based netbook could be in the plans.

Given the fact that current Netbook are on par with low-end notebooks, with prices and specifications to match (Asus's latest EEE PC Netbook even has an optical drive), it would certainly make sense to reinvent the netbook category with back-to-basics, no-frill models.

It seems as if manufacturers are feeling uneasy about a product that's bound to be popular. And they should be. Whoever will launch the first computer platform without any x86/Windows ingredient in it is bound to attract the wrath of the Wintel Gods.