Google, already a search engine behemoth, is poised to enter the hardware market this year with a new portable computing device which will run the Android operating system. This move comes after Google has recently diversified its already formidable internet presence with a new browser called Chrome and, with its entry into the hardware sector of computing, the search-engine giant stands to become a force to be reckoned with in the next several years.
If properly developed and marketed, the Android computing platform may very well evolve to the point that it will provide direct competition with Windows, Microsoft’s standby operating system. In fact, Android is already in use on several other devices including the Skating Alpha 680, which is a Chinese product marketed towards users in developing countries; Hewlett Packard is investigating whether the new operating system can be incorporated into future HP products. Asus (a company based in Taiwan) also markets a mini notebook which uses Android and is designed to primarily compete with the Apple iPad, now considered to be the portable computer by which all others are measured.
For users of newer cell phones and smart phones, the application of Android as a computer operating system should come as no surprise. In fact, thirty-four phones currently support the operating system and Android has quickly become the star of the cell phone market, with most users recognizing (and requesting) it by name. Blackberry, the leader in the cell phone industry with 36% market share, makes use of the Android system on their products.
Moreover, because Android is a freely distributed program, it may very well eclipse Windows in popularity if it can compete when it comes to functionality. Windows generally costs several hundred dollars for a fully equipped system. Meego, a freely distributed Intel product, can also theoretically run on cell phones and portable computers but doesn’t have the current popularity or cultural relevance that Android seems to have captured in its short tenure. The fact that Google is striking while the iron is hot and capitalizing on Android’s recent popularity could mean good things for the company…and for you. After all, another choice in the historically limited OS market is great news for consumers everywhere.
Michael Blumreich is a contributor for the aptly named laptop review site, LaptopReviews.com. He’s currently a university student and lover of all things tech.