The image above shows a netbook Asus EEEPC 1000H running on Google’s mobile operating system Android. Huh? You thought Android was for mobile phones, right? Well, as we’ve written before, Google is planning to use Android for any device — not just the mobile phones.
Besides writing as freelancers for VentureBeat, we also run a startup called Mobile-facts. It took us about four hours of work to compile Android for the netbook. Having done so, we (Daniel Hartmann, that is) got the netbook fully up and running on it, with nearly all of the necessary hardware you’d want (including graphics, sound and the wireless card for internet) running. See the images below for further impressions.
Here’s the significance: 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. Ramifications abound: What does it mean for the stock price of Microsoft? Microsoft currently owns the vast majority of the desktop operating system market share? In recent weeks, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer repeatedly dismissed Android as competition to Windows Mobile.
Google has been slowly, but surely, displacing Microsoft as the number one PC technology company. Google has done it by misdirection. Instead of taking Microsoft head-on in desktops, Google first consolidated their hold on Web search and only then started moving into Web-based desktop applications. Then, in 2008, they made their first direct strike at the desktop with the release of their own Web browser: Google Chrome. Now, Matthaus Krzykowski and Daniel Hartmann, founders of the stealth startup Mobile-facts, have found that you can take Google's smartphone operating system, Android, and use it as a desktop operating system.
In fact, the dauntless duo found that it took them only "about four hours of work to compile Android for the netbook. Having done so, we (Daniel Hartmann, that is) got the netbook fully up and running on it, with nearly all of the necessary hardware you'd want (including graphics, sound and the wireless card for internet) running." In short, they found that Android was already a desktop operating system.
This didn't come as a surprise to either of them. They'd been expecting Google to use Android for more than mobile phones for months. What I find a bit surprising is that it was already so easy to port Android to a PC. Heck. I could have done it, and my coding skills are really rusty.
Specifically, the two got Android running in desktop Linux mode on a netbook, the Asus Eee PC 1000H. This is a pretty standard netbook. If you can get Android to run on it, you shouldn't have much trouble getting it to work on any desktop.
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