Android has become a hedge against Microsoft and Windows

HP, in a way, is putting Microsoft and Windows on notice with its new Android offerings.

HP SlateBook x2 is both an Android tablet and laptop. The laptop part is an Android first for HP.
HP SlateBook x2 is both an Android tablet and laptop. The laptop part is an Android first for HP. Hewlett-Packard

Hewlett-Packard rolled out another Android device this week. This could become a pattern as PC makers hedge against a world that's less about Microsoft and more about Google.

On Tuesday, the largest PC maker in the world -- a dubious distinction these days -- added a laptop-tablet hybrid to its growing stable of products based on Google operating systems.

The $479 HP SlateBook x2 is an Android first for HP. It's "powered by Android, the world's most popular mobile operating system...100 percent tablet, 100 percent notebook, 100 percent Android," according to the company's ad copy.

The operative phrase is "most popular mobile operating system." HP knows that mobile, not desktop, OSes are where things are headed.

This follows the announcement of an HP Chromebook and the Slate 7 Android tablet in February.

Don't expect HP to stop there. Android is a force of nature that's only going to get bigger and more important.

Asus, another big Windows PC maker, is leaning more on Android these days too. It makes the popular Nexus 7 for Google (second-generation 7 is due soon), its Transformer Pad has been well received, and Asus came out with an Intel-based Android FonePad recently.

And Acer, after whining incessantly about Microsoft's foray into the PC business via Surface, has been busy introducing its share of Android devices, like its most recent entrant, the Iconia A1 .

All of the above "PC makers" will continue to make Windows laptops, hybrids, and tablets (HP also announced the Windows 8-based Split x2 this week), but the market momentum is in Android's favor.

HP's 14-inch Chromebook is a steal at only $330.
HP's 14-inch Chromebook is a steal at only $330. Hewlett-Packard
About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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