Signs suggest that Google is interested in the desktop. Last year, for example, it filed a patent for mapping Android touchscreen gestures to a trackpad. That patent would be superfluous, of course, if touchscreens become standard equipment on PCs.
Some dabblers have also tested the waters with Android-based hardware. In May 2012, for instance, Via introduced a $49 mini-motherboard that uses a custom version of Android as its operating system. More recently, Giada, a company that specializes in small-footprint computers, introduced two models designed to run on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).
Some industry observers reason that if Android arrives on the desktop, it could attract its share of hardware makers fed up with paying royalties to Microsoft for using Windows. Chances are, though, they'll still pay royalties to Microsoft if they use Android, as some smartphone makers, who have paid millions of dollars in royalties to Redmond, have already discovered.