Nokia is planning to release a netbook line based on Symbian, according to reports. The move is certainly a reaction to the Google plans to introduce netbooks based on Android.
The barriers to the use of a smartphone OS as the basis for a computer are less with netbooks because more of the usage is likely to be online, based on hosted applications or simple offline operation, than on general PC applications.
In theory, either Symbian or Android could be used on any hardware platform based on any reasonably flexible chipset. The Nokia move, coming after Google, could be a signal of a major shift in the computing space, something that could make life for Microsoft very difficult even given Windows 7, and something that will put considerable stress on Apple’s plans, particularly ifS teve Jobs does not return to the company later in the year.
Microsoft, whose Mobile version of Windows 7 is also due out next year, is rumored to be harboring netbook aspirations for the new OS as well, and some at Microsoft believe that a strong position in the netbook space, likely to create greater application developer support, would help them with smartphones.