When it comes to netbooks, the most popular operating system is Windows XP. Some more machines can be had with Windows Vista or Linux, but XP remains the OS of choice for the low cost machines. Bloomberg reports that Google's Linux-based Android OS could help to significantly narrow the gap between Windows and Linux on netbooks over the next year or so.
Windows held 85% of the netbook market for operating systems in Q4 2008 leaving Linux with 15% of the market. Some sources say what Linux needs to be able to grab more market share is a big name behind it, and Google is believed to be that big name.
One of the big benefits of Android is not only that it has the Google name behind it, but also that it is free. That could make netbooks running the OS cheaper than Windows-based rivals. Bloomberg says that neither Acer nor HP would comment on the possibility of Android-based netbooks at this time and little is known about the Asus netbook other than the company says it is considering using Andoroid. Another big selling point for Android netbooks is that Google also offers free rivals to Microsoft Office productivity apps that could be bundled for free into the netbooks.