I took enough flak for suggesting that Google's Android mobile operating system would appear on netbooks in 2009 that I'm obligated to point out this post on VentureBeat by programmers who compiled Android for an Asus EEEPC 1000H netbook in four hours.
MatthÃ¤us Krzykowski and Daniel Hartmann freelance for VentureBeat, taking time out of their programming schedules for stealth startup Mobile-facts. We're not sure exactly what they do, but they're clearly quite interested in Android.
In this instance, they got the Asus netbook fully up and running on Android, with nearly all of the necessary hardware you'd want, including graphics, sound and the wireless card for Internet.
What this prototype does is show that it can be done, which should answer the naysayers who said it won't happen because Android isn't powerful enough to run on a larger computer. You know who you are in these comments.
I've argued that Android netbooks could be on tap for 2009, and Kryskowski and Hartmann argued an Android netbook could hit the market in just a few months, provided the proper cooperation and collaboration among the device makers and carriers in the Open Handset Alliance. However, they noted:
"As we evaluate the progress of the various OHA projects, we expect conditions for a mass-market netbook to ripen in 2010, rather than in 2009. Right now a variety of OHA members, announced and unannounced, are working on projects to set up a sufficient ecosystem.... The fact that various OHA partners have already developed Android enough to easily work on our netbook may be considered evidence enough that Google is getting increasing buy-in from industry players to realize this vision."
The programmers said Android has an operating system direction for MIDs or mobile Internet devices, which include netbooks, and that Intel already had the right drivers for MID chips in place.
They say 2010 is when we should expect mass rollout of Android netbooks, but it's clear that 2009 remains a possibility. Can programmers replicate Android on netbooks exponentially? That's a good question.
Kryskowski and Hartmann also echo what I noted a week ago when they wrote this about the importance about their experiment with Android on the Asus:
"Imagine the billion dollar market at stake here if Google can make good on this vision. Netbooks are basically small-scale PCs. For Silicon Valley myriad of software companies, it means a well-backed, open operating system that is open and ripe for exploitation for building upon. Now think of Chrome, Google's Web browser, and the richness it allows developers to build into the browser's relationship with the desktop -- all of this could usher in a new wave of more sophisticated Web applications, cheaper and more dynamic to use."
I couldn't agree more! If we can only get there. The programmers also wonder what this will mean for Microsoft. Not much early on, but in a few years, Android and other Linux flavors could easily trump Microsoft Windows in netbooks.
Netbooks, already popular in 2008, could be huge in 2009 given the economy. A $400 netbook can look a bit tastier than an $800 laptop for cost-conscious buyers.