Leading US computer maker Hewlett-Packard said Tuesday it is studying the possibility of building machines based on Google-backed Android operating systems.
Google's open source operating software only recently debuted in mobile telephones with Internet capabilities.
"We are the world's leading computer company and it is only natural for us to want to understand its applications for our competitors' products or ours," HP spokeswoman Marlene Somsak said of research into Android.
"Regarding how or when HP might introduce any Android-enabled platforms, we decline to talk about products that may be underway."
An Open Handset Alliance of technology firms backing "Google phones" based on Android platforms has been steadily gaining members.
Recent inductees include British mobile network giant Vodaphone; Japanese electronics titan Toshiba Corp., and Sony Ericsson, a joint venture involving Japan-based Sony and Sweden-based Ericsson.
Alliance recruits will make Android-based mobile telephones, lend programming expertise to the Android source code project, or offer products or services for the handheld devices.
The handset alliance was established in 2007 by Google and 33 other firms, among them Intel, HTC, China Mobile, Motorola, Qualcomm, T-Mobile, Telefonica, LG, and eBay.
US telecom operator T-Mobile began selling the first Android-based Google phone, dubbed "G1," last year.
News that HP is exploring ways to put Android to work in computers is the first hint that the operating system may be shaping up as a contender in a market long-dominated by Windows software made by Google's rival Microsoft.
Approximately nine of every 10 computers in the world run on Windows operating systems.
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