HP considering Android for netbooks: report

A man walks past the Hewlett Packard logo at its French headquarters in Issy le Moulineaux, western Paris in this September 16, 2005 file photo. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard may use Google’s Android operating system in some of its netbooks, displacing Microsoft’s Windows, according to a media report on Tuesday.

HP is currently testing Android -- a free, open-source operating system -- for a possible netbook, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people briefed on the matter. The company has not decided whether to bring such a product to market, the report said.

HP, the world’s largest PC maker, did not return calls seeking comment.

Many in the industry, including Microsoft, are anticipating the release of laptops running Android, although no PC maker has publicly committed to it.

Android is used on smartphones like HTC Corp’s G1, but is being designed to support all kinds of connected devices. Chipmaker Freescale, which recently began making chips for netbooks, plans to expand its offering to include chipsets for Android.

Microsoft’s Vista operating system is too bulky to run on many netbooks, the low-cost, stripped-down PCs that have become one of the hottest segments in the PC market.

The software giant made its older XP operating system available on netbooks, where it is now the dominant platform. Microsoft will sell a version of its forthcoming Windows 7 operating system specially tailored for netbooks.

Analysts estimate that globally shipments of netbooks will be between 20 million and 30 million units in 2009.

Shares of Palo Alto, California-based HP closed down 6 cents at $32.06 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Gabriel Madway