Google may be a big dog, but can they compete against Microsoft? A news report today fueled the fire of speculation that Google will compete to be king of the desktop operating system hill.
It's a most unlikely scenario, but the as-yet-unconfirmed speculation says that Google will position Android as an operating system for netbooks. It seems that a couple of cyber-sleuths discovered that Android has two product policies, or instruction sets targeted at specific uses, and these are phones and mobile Internet devices--or netbooks. I have high hopes for Android on the smartphone front, and I think Android smartphones will give the major competitors like RIM and Apple a good run for their money. But netbooks? A longshot, but interesting, all the same. If it were to happen, it could go a long way towards creating a good, basic netbook, without a lot of frills, for a remarkably low price.
In fact, Asus is already on the ball on that front, with engineers already on the job developing an Android netbook. There's no marketing information out from either Asus or Google on this, so it's probably just a skunkworks project for the time being, but it's certainly an exciting prospect. Android would never outseat Windows, but could make a viable alternative for netbooks, especially for budget-minded users.
Non-Windows netbooks would be a niche market however, since the netbook serves as a second computer for most people. And if the first computer is Windows, the second one would need to be as well, unless it's used only for basic things like Web browsing and email. I'll be watching for further developments.