In a story posted on Tuesday, the Journal reported that Satjiv Chahil, a vice president of HP's PC division, confirmed that the company was studying the Google software.
"We want to assess the capability Android may have for the computer and communications industries, and so we are studying it," Chahil was quoted as saying. He declined to say for certain whether HP plans to sell Android devices, however.
Android is a Linux-based operating system that was originally designed for mbbile phones. The operating system is currently available on only one phone, T-Mobile's G1, which is made by HTC. In February, HTC also announced it will offer Android on another phone, the Magic. Several other handset makers, including Samsung and Motorola, have also promised Android-based phones.
But now experts are predicting that the open-source operating system could be used on other devices, such as the low-cost laptops known as netbooks. In fact, market research firm Ovum recently predicted that Android-powered netbooks will emerge in 2009, as manufacturers attempt to drive the price of netbooks to around £150 or less.
The reason is simple. Linux-based software, such as Android, is free, while Microsoft charges a hefty licensing fee for the Windows operating system. In order to hit super-low price points, manufacturers need to cut costs wherever they can and that means ditching Microsoft's Windows software.
The problem is that most consumers are comfortable and familiar with Windows PCs and thus prefer a Windows-based netbook to one using a generic Linux operating system.
Laurent Lachal, the open-source research director at Ovum, believes that Android could reverse this trend, especially as the software finds its way on to more phones and Google's Android application store, known as Android Market, builds its inventory of new applications.
Independent software developers can now charge for applications on Android Market, which Laurent believes will increase support from the developer community.
Android isn't currently available on PCs, but other PC makers have said they're considering using the software, including Asus, and Dell is also considering the software for its upcoming smart phone.
Google declined to comment on whether HP or any other netbook maker is planning to use Android, but the company emphasised that it's not restricted to mobile phones.
"The Android smartphone platform was designed from the beginning to scale downward to feature phones and upward to MID and netbook-style devices," a Google spokeswoman said. "We look forward to seeing what contributions are made and how an open platform spurs innovation, but we have nothing to announce at this time."