Google Android, a Windows 7 netbook killer?

Rumours are spreading that Google is in talks with leading netbook producers to offer a version of Android in anticipation of competing with Microsoft's own Windows 7, an operating system designed to be flexible enough to target everything from the basic netbook market to high-end gaming PCs.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that HP and others are working with Google to develop netbooks starring Android.

Claims that Google would be getting into the operating systems business go back at least three years, but the current rumours could well prove to be true. Android is well developed, some key players appear to be in place, and the Google name resonates more strongly with the public. It could even mean a serious challenge to Microsoft's mindshare.

The original ASUS offerings in the market provided an XP-themed version of Linux, Firefox, and OpenOffice.org, and so gave consumers the basics they needed to get what most of them needed to get done. Microsoft fought back with a modified (and cheaper) version of XP to appeal to those comfortable with that OS. However, while such an offering has proved popular on netbooks, some consumers have seen the true costs of going with the familiar: in particular, no office software installed by default.

Netbooks are the closest things to Internet "appliances", doing all the basic things most consumers expect from their computers. Early ASUS offerings with modified versions of Xandros Linux have proved popular, particularly among middle-aged women in South Korea and elsewhere (and, of course, among other demographics). Ubuntu has developed their "Netbook Remix" to target the same market. But the Google name counts for a lot.

Google is a company that made its fortune partly on its use of Linux servers, and the power of the brand still serves to instill consumers with trust, even though privacy issues have arisen in the media over the past few years. "To google" is, for many, computer-speak for "to search". If Google does in fact get some sort of purchase out of Android, it could be the thin end of the wedge in a longer-term strategy to overthrow Microsoft's control of the desktop. If they time things right, then they could well be the first past the post, beating Microsoft's Windows 7 to a key developing market and positioning themselves to take on Microsoft in the other markets it has long dominated.

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44 Comments

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It's funny how you guys seriously think you and your friends are mainstream.

Seriously, I can't really see Google taking Windows 7 off anything right now. People worldwide are still too naive, they'll look for anything with Windows because it's the only thing they know. As for Google, 80% of computer-using world population use it for search only and at maximum, Gmail.

Victor V. said,
It's funny how you guys seriously think you and your friends are mainstream.

Seriously, I can't really see Google taking Windows 7 off anything right now. People worldwide are still too naive, they'll look for anything with Windows because it's the only thing they know. As for Google, 80% of computer-using world population use it for search only and at maximum, Gmail.

Both of which are very useful while on the go in the small form factor of a laptop. Lets also remember google are a big supporter of free and open source software including android itself and as a free alternative if they shape it right would be very good competitor to Windows 7 starter edition which is very restrictive unlike android.

I haven't seen a Android phone so bear with me...

Would a Android-based netbook run OpenOffice?

Netbooks are supposed to be simple Internet appliances. If it has a good web browser and can run OpenOffice then why not? If you plan to do CAD or play a 1st person shooter then you don't want a Netbook anyway.

My ASUS eeePC had OpenOffice and Firefox and other software, like Skype. You could add more to it, but I found it easier to install Ubuntu on it and run with that. Limits on the system were mostly down to data storage. Mine came with a 4GB flash drive as its hard drive. This was fine for all the Linux software and some data storage, but I added a 16GB flash card to it for my home directory.

That was about a year ago. These things are getting better and better. There is no reason to think they can't work as a normal computer, more or less, and keep the prices down, given advances in technology. Plus, if Google do get their Android on big companies' netbooks, then the Google name would be a big selling point.

April fools or not.. Google will make it into the market. BUT people still forget about the mass consumer.. they will never switch to something like android. Alot of people hate change.. the only people who i might see buying an Android machine would be the google employees, a couple of other who have that "Oh I got to have a piece of that pie" and someone who thinks no end of him/herself..

Windows 7 is far beyond the reaches of Android. But its always good to have choice.

Google Android, a Windows 7 netbook killer?
That's the funniest April Fool's Joke so far today! Keep 'em coming Neowin!

Faisal Islam said,
hahaha...YEAH DUDE....Apple tried, Sun Tried, Linux tried...so it's Google's turn...i hope they will also fail for sure.

Indeed. Hate to see competition in the marketplace driving the business to make better products.

It's much better that anyone that would provide an alternative to Microsoft fail.

:no:

First, this is not an April Fools joke.

Second, the key point here is that we are talking about Google, a company most people know. If they do get into this game, then that gives them an edge over other distributors of Linux.

So yet another Linux distro for netbooks...

Why would Google be any more successful at this, than say Intel with Moblin, Ubuntu or Ubuntu Netbook Remix, etc?

While I Ubuntu on my AAO, I still like XP and Win7 better.

For everyone saying it's april fools, it's not. ASUS have been trialing it since late 2008 and i'm sure others are too. this is what it looks like.


Is funny since Android is just another linux distro with some ripped of features and other "google-like" add-ons.


Does anyone else just not like the name 'Android'? I thought it was just a codename but then it was like... Oh, they're actually calling it that.

Maybe if Google starts to showoff their Android OS on the netbook Microsoft will get rid of the crappy restriction on starter so people won't hate windows 7 on a netbook. Yeah, Home Premium will be offered however some people don't want to pay that much. Of course Android is based off of Linux. So doesn't that mean Microsoft can sue Google since they were able to sue TomTom?

Omen1393 said,
... Of course Android is based off of Linux. So doesn't that mean Microsoft can sue Google since they were able to sue TomTom?

Except Microsoft didn't actually sue TomTom. The brought up a suit, yes. But when TomTom got the backing of the Linux patent group and counter-sued, Microsoft chose to settle instead of going to court.

They can, of course, bring up a suit against whomever they please. But something tells me Google wouldn't back down.

And the settlement was in MS's favor since they came away with a better deal iirc. You don't go to cout if you really don't have to. Many lawsuits end out of court with some sorta deal.

I wouldn't be surprised if that was the aim MS had going in from the get go.

GP007 said,
And the settlement was in MS's favor since they came away with a better deal iirc.

Did they?

Was the settlement for $1 or for $1billion? Part of the settlement was a veil of secrecy, so no one will say.

TomTom isn't bankrupt, so it must not have been the billion.

It could've just been a crosslicensing deal with each others IP. Something MS might have wanted from the start, it didn't have to be about money.

GP007 said,
It could've just been a crosslicensing deal with each others IP. Something MS might have wanted from the start, it didn't have to be about money.

Then I am really lost at what you meant by "the settlement was in MS's favor since they came away with a better deal iirc". You say it is not about money. Yet no one knows the terms.

Not sure how you know all this.

Personally I love windows 7 on my eeepc. Right now I have it installed on the large partition on a 901. Gona strip it down and install it on the faster 4GB drive later see how well it works. But google android OS ? I'm willing to try it

April's joke or not. It will be interesting to have different OS designed to take advatange of netbook's limited screen size and specs.

sorlag said,
Lol 1 April joke ^^
Android on a laptop against Windows 7. lool

Is this going to go on all day? Accusations of April Fools on every news story? *sigh*

Kirkburn said,

Is this going to go on all day? Accusations of April Fools on every news story? *sigh*

That post was an April fools! >_>

lol is right, why would i want a net book running Android when i can have win7 for a little more? like 50 bucks.

Android against xp maybe
Android against win7, no freaking way.

Kirkburn said,

Is this going to go on all day? Accusations of April Fools on every news story? *sigh*

Such is April Fools.

I hate it, too, but you can't automatically trust anything you read on April 1st, and, for the most part, for the rest of the week (since the April Fools stories are re-circulated by people who don't know any better).

if i wanted a phone-os on a device, i'd buy a phone. netbooks are nice because they have full featured OSs. No knocking android, but it's no modern nix/windows envrioment

Rolith said,
if i wanted a phone-os on a device, i'd buy a phone. netbooks are nice because they have full featured OSs. No knocking android, but it's no modern nix/windows envrioment

This is true however, once netbooks start getting things like 3G and/or GPS and things built into them then I would think something like android and its apps would be easier and more common to make use of the hardware over windows. but you're right for general purpose day to day use windows 7 or xp on netbooks is far superior (or ubuntu etc if your that way inclined)

Well, Funny this article says what it does about Android and it's possible netbook future. I'm in love with my G1. It's amazing-once of the best purchases I've ever made. However-If I'm going to spend approx. $349.00 USD for a netbook thats comfy to use why not spend the extra 50.00-100.00 and get a real laptop with all the horse power needed and instead of using a netbook I use my G1 for the lite tasks. It is fair to say (and it's prolly in the works) to have Google Docs works a bit better on the G1. If you use the default built-in Chrome browser google notebook for example (it's no longer supported I know) is way more usable in Opera Mini vs. Chrome. Google has a chance to make an impression on a market that has limited value. Perhaps if Android wins more converts on the netbook platform it will open up a other market segments in the future. BUt as we all know it's a *nix distro is what you'll be getting. I like Android-it's tight-reliable and fast. Chrome is unhappy for surfing on it at the moment. Otherwise it's good to hear that Google is chasing after MS territory. I think MS should take note at the approach Google is taking...they made sure to have a revenue model that wasn't dependent on new software products being released every quarter and they don't buy their way into a particular market segment as boldly/stupidly as MS does. Since MS is acting like a brat who wasn't invited to the party.

@DATmafia:

Google can win this, actually this it. This is the moment to take Microsoft lead. While you are happy with a big notebook and a big cellphone, mostly everyone is buying a netbook, as their main desktop. Most geeks already own one just to have one just so they don't feel left out, and Windows still thinks they will ready come to gripping the netbook once it starts getting better processors. I think netbook are the future of portable machines, since I still own one of those Sony's 17" desktop replacement and believe me, as powerful as it was, it's not portable in any way.

Linux alone had a chance and manage to show how far from mainstream, distros are. I say "Google! how soon is now??"

This is not really what people are thinking about. They say netbooks, but not the ones we've seen, aka Atom powered x86 netbooks with 1GB of ram etc.

The plan here is to use ARM hardware, something MS doesn't support with Windows atm. The OEMs have asked MS to add support for ARM but they haven't yet. Since they can't get win7 to run on ARM hardware they fall back to this. Since it already supports the hardware they have in mind.

But I'll give it time. No way MS will just sit back and leave ARM support out now.

Digix said,
This is true however, once netbooks start getting things like 3G and/or GPS and things built into them then I would think something like android and its apps would be easier and more common to make use of the hardware over windows. but you're right for general purpose day to day use windows 7 or xp on netbooks is far superior (or ubuntu etc if your that way inclined)


GPS and 3G drivers aren't that hard to make. In fact .. these kind of drivers have been around for ages. Even before we really had smartphones or netbooks to worry about.

A phone minded OS on a netbook is just stupid. Plain and simple stupid.

MMaster23 said,
GPS and 3G drivers aren't that hard to make. In fact .. these kind of drivers have been around for ages. Even before we really had smartphones or netbooks to worry about.

A phone minded OS on a netbook is just stupid. Plain and simple stupid.

I know that but because smart phones utilize them more the OS is pre orientated towards features like them so out the box it'd be ideal but also netbook version would be more optimized for the platform rather then just a straight rip from G1 to netbook.