Windows, MeeGo and now Android for Intel-powered tablet devices?

You can't accuse Intel of not keeping its options open. A report claims the company is working with manufacturers on a series of Android laptops, which could be unveiled in April.

Intel may be about to throw its weight behind Android for tablets, despite already being buddied up with Microsoft for Windows devices, and having its own MeeGo OS. The first Android slates with Intel inside could make their public debut as soon as next month, too.

Taiwanese news site DigiTimes has the story, claiming that Intel is working with six to eight laptop makers on Android tablets. Its sources reckon the first devices could be unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing in mid-April, although they may slip to the Computex Taipei conference at the start of June.

Enough operating systems for one company? There's one more: the same story suggests that Intel is also working with Google on a series of laptops and netbooks running the latter's Chrome OS, which will be available in the second half of this year. Samsung, Acer and Asus are all touted as likely partners.

By its nature, Intel probably needs to have its finger in as many pies as possible, to stay relevant in what Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently described as the "post-PC world" . In that sense, it would be wrong to see DigiTimes' story as showing that Intel is getting ready to ditch MeeGo for Android. If anything, it's hedging its bets.

It's true that Intel had a major focus on MeeGo at Mobile World Congress in February, showing off a prototype tablet with a very slick user interface. At the time, Intel said it was looking for more hardware partners to replace Nokia, whose interest in the OS seemed to have cooled following its deal to make Windows Phone devices with Microsoft.

Interestingly, new evidence emerged this week of Nokia's ongoing tablet ambitions, with a patent filing in the US for a tablet design that looked like an oversized N8. The filing was made in the middle of last year, so it's unclear whether the device is likely to go into production though.

Here's a thought: a Nokia tablet with Intel inside, running the Android OS. It's a long shot, but stranger things have happened...

 

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