Asustek Computer, maker of the Eee PC netbooks running Microsoft Windows that have been hot sellers among consumers, has said it is choosing Google's Android platform over Windows for a tablet computer.
Asus officials told German blog Netbook News that Asus will eschew Windows for Android in its EP101TC pad, painting a potentially bleak picture for the software giant that nixed its own tablet plans in April.
"Rather than running an outdated Windows CE, Asus and the majority of tablet manufacturers will be relying on Google's operating system," Netbook News said.
The blog said Asus expects to demonstrate the tablet at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011 before launching it in the first quarter of that year. It is not clear what flavor of the operating system the tablet would run, but Android 3.0 is expected before the end of the 2010.
Android smartphones such as the Nexus One are still in the process of being upgraded to Android 2.2, with those upgrades going out to the Motorola Droid X and HTC Droid Incredible in August.
With more than 60 phones on the market and more than 160,000 units shipping daily, there is a growing belief in the industry that Google's Android platform is the successor to Windows on smartphones.
The key difference is that while Microsoft seeded the market with Windows Mobile and let any phone maker license it for handsets, Android is open source.
There are no licensing royalties going to Google, which is making its money from mobile ads served with content on the phones.
While Windows currently dominates the netbook, laptop and PC markets, Apple has said it believes tablets will subsume the PC market.
Apple has sold 3 million iPads, proving that the tablet market represents a green field for hardware growth.
But Microsoft is woefully behind there after nixing its Courier tablet, and all signs point to Android edging out Windows as the challenger to Apple.
Dell built the Android-based Streak tablet, Lenovo is building an Android tablet for 2010, and HP is reportedly working on an Android tablet along with a tablet based on Palm's WebOS.
Even non-hardware purveyors Google and Verizon are building an Android tablet.