PC makers show off two more netbooks running Android

Two more netbooks running a version of Android have materialized in "unannounced" preview machines. One of the Android-based laptops was an unannounced version of Asustek Computer's Eee PC, while the other was a prototype by contract hardware maker Compal Electronics. These two join Dell. About two weeks ago, Dell showed off a prototype version of its Mini 10v using Android Cupcake.

The Asustek and Compal netbooks were shown off at a Qualcomm press conference held in Taipei intended to showcase its Snapdragon processor, which uses an ARM core processor like the ones used in smartphones, rather than a PC's traditional x86 cores.

Likewise, these laptops were using the version of Android that is designed for smartphones, which lets users access the Web or watch video files but is relatively unsophisticated compared to a traditional PC. The Compal prototype showed an effort to customize the OS for the laptop with a Compal-designed home screen, suggesting this may be the approach hardware makers take to adapt Android for laptops.

But despite the rage in Android prototypes, and the general expectation that Android will be a popular choice for low-cost netbooks, Google is staying oddly mum on its plans to engineer a version of Android specifically for the netbook market, reports IDG News Service.

"We are keenly aware of the opportunities that Android has for multiple devices -- netbooks being one of them -- so we are not blind to it, but I can't discuss whether we have engineering backing behind it," said Daniel Alegre, Google's vice president of Asia-Pacific sales and operations, speaking to reporters after a press conference at the company's office in Taipei.

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