It is no secret that a lot hardware manufacturer are looking at Andriod to power netbooks (See one such article here). Here are my observations
- One can say it is natural evolution given the fact that Netbook started with Linux.
- Netbook running on Android can be interesting for the mobile phone markets. Nowadays in developed country you can get a netbook thrown in if you get a mobile phone/broadband contract. it is easier for mobile phone providers if both their phones and your netbook it needs to support run on the same software.
- There is a possibility that manufacturers wants to create a segment of the netbook market which resembles smartphones and not box-standard computers. That will change the perception of netbooks as simply a strip down, or replacement, computers. Quite a lot of netbook offerring already shown that it is heading down this trend. For example, the more successful Linux netbooks seems to spurn the traditional Linux Desktop and use a customized interface that resembles smartphone.
- Microsoft claim 90% of the netbook market. We know it bend over backwards to get Windows on the market (price reduction and resurrection of XP). YET interestingly, manufacturers are spending money on R&D for Linux-powered netbook (Andriod in this discussion). That suggests that (1) 10% market might be good enough enticement to manufacturers, (2)As WSJ suggested, the margin is so tight on those netbooks that manufacturer will try everything to boost it or (3) horror horror, they do not want Microsoft to monopolize the netbook segment, if they can help it.
- It also claims that Linux notebook is returned because of peripheral incompatibility. I will say a significant numbers are return because of peripheral incompatibility, especially if the consumer bought it to replace their home computer. With big companies like HP who also manufactures printers experimenting with netbooks, this problem will be reduced in the long run. HP will love to sell you a printer on top of your netbook. Linux might be able to overcome the chicken-and-egg problem with printers if netbooks become popular. Microsoft will spin periperial incompatibility in the hope of stopping users to switch to Linux, but it knows that it is facing a bigger battle now that manufacturers might be on board. This is the most hideous threat to Microsoft because if the periperial problem is reolved for netbook, it is also resolved for mainstream computer (or will soon be). Microsoft knows it, and will do it utmost to stop this. If it cannot, it will try to delay it as long as it can.
Finally, do not underestimate Microsoft’s competitiveness. It can drop Windows prices to USD1 if it feels the threat.