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6/5/2009
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BenQ To Make Android Phones, Netbooks

Google's Linux-based operating system is rapidly picking up steam from a growing number of companies that will use it for mobile computing devices.

Device maker BenQ on Friday said it would be bringing out smartphones and netbooks next year that run the Google-backed Android operating system.

The company offers netbooks with Microsoft's Windows XP under the "Joybook" brand, and it already offers smartphones that are powered by Windows Mobile and Symbian. It's hoping Android smartphones will help it establish itself as a major player in the mobile space, representatives said. The company did not elaborate on details for Android smartphones or netbooks.

The company is not part of the Open Handset Alliance, which is an industry consortium with members like Sprint, T-Mobile, HTC, and Samsung that promotes the Linux-based Android. Because Android is open source, any company is free to download the source code and use it in commercial devices. But Google has said those who use Android without agreeing to certain obligations cannot preload popular applications like Gmail or Google Calendar, and the tight integration with Google services has been one of the most attractive features of Android so far.

The announcement is another signal that Google's operating system is picking up steam. The search company estimates there could be up to 20 smartphones with Android released by the end of the year, and it will likely include handsets from big players like Samsung, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson.

The operating system is also gaining popularity with netbook makers, as Acer, Asus, and Dell are considering using the OS for their subnotebooks. Android netbooks may have more success than other variations of Linux because of Android's strong brand recognition and association with Google, but Microsoft's Windows still handily dominates the space.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis of the current state of open source adoption. Download the report here (registration required).

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