Menu
Dell netbook rumour prompts questions about Android

Dell netbook rumour prompts questions about Android

Reports that Dell might use Google's Android OS in a netbook raises questions about what the device might look like and whether Android is ready for use beyond smartphones.

Software vendor Bsquare appeared to have leaked the news that Dell is developing an Android-based netbook. In a press release, Bsquare said it was porting Adobe's Flash Lite technology to "Dell netbooks running Google's Android platform." The release has since been pulled from Bsquare's Web site and Dell has refused to comment on what it called "speculation." But most observers think there is probably no smoke without fire.

Android is a Linux-based OS developed by Google for use in mobile devices, primarily smartphones. It includes an OS, middleware and some basic applications, and has a toolkit that developers can use to build other programs on top. Hewlett-Packard has confirmed it is testing Android as an option for netbooks, and some enthusiasts have already loaded the OS on the devices.

It's easy to see why computer makers might be interested. Android is free to use, which means they don't have to pay a licence fee for Microsoft's Windows OS, and it is open source, so they can customize it to build the types of products they think customers want.

Since it's designed by Google, the OS naturally is friendly to Web-based applications. Google offers software libraries that make it easy to provide quick access to online services and data. The Google Maps library, for example, allows developers to add mapping capabilities to Android applications.

PC makers could design netbooks with distinctive user interfaces that provide one-click access to online services such as Google Docs and Google Maps. Android can also provide information about the location of a device, so netbooks could include applications that let users see the locations of their friends, for example.

Industry analyst Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, said Android's Web-centric design could lend itself well to buying new software on the Web, in a similar model to Apple's App Store.

But he wondered whether Android is ready for use in netbooks. Moving an OS for mobile phones to netbooks is an ambitious plan and will present some challenges, he said. Acer echoed the same sentiment when the company's president and CEO, Gianfranco Lanci, said last week, "It's too early to say if we're going to see Android on a netbook in the near future."

Those are the problems companies like Dell and HP may be trying to solve, Kay said. Android is still evolving for smartphones, and it will go through the same process for netbooks.

"That story is yet to be written," Kay said.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Dellinternational news

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments