Hewlett-Packard and Google's Android: The power of hype

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The press made a great deal of fuss over the news that Hewlett Packard (HPQ) is testing the Google (GOOG) Android operating system for its small netbooks. Android is free and could conceivably replace Microsoft (MSFT) Windows.

Android is also in the early stages of development and currently operates on smartphones sold by T-Mobile, which is the fourth largest cellular provider in the U.S. -- a distant fourth. That is to say that Android is hardly mainstream.

While having a free operating system may be attractive, Google has to count on outside developers to create applications. It is not clear when software that would work like applications in Windows might be done. According toThe Wall Street Journal, "Moving Android to netbooks will be an uphill effort because the software does not run popular PC programs."

In other words, Android for the PC is a nice headline, but it may never happen.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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