updated 10:25 am EDT, Tue June 2, 2009
Acer Making Android NBs
Acer at Computex today said it would be the first to produce netbooks using Google's Android platform. Company IT product president Jim Wong expects the systems to appear in the summer and that the Linux-based systems will still use Intel Atom processors. He didn't provide prices, though the Android netbooks should be less expensive than Windows versions as Google doesn't charge for licenses where Microsoft asks for $15 for each copy of Windows XP.
The executive is clear that the Android models won't replace Windows netbooks but that it's important to evolve the netbook line to stay competitive. Without this, buyers "may not choose" Acer's netbooks anymore, Wong says.
Acer's decision is a blow to Microsoft, which has managed to achieve a near-monopoly of the netbook market by consciously selling Windows below cost to reduce most of the price advantage that had led Acer, ASUS and others to choose Linux in the first place. Windows had also been chosen due to high return rates for Linux models over complaints of difficulty, but Android promises to simplify the experience without limiting support for 3G or other extras.
Dell and others have been considering Android but haven't committed to the approach.
The addition moreover extends the reach of Android and creates pressure on Apple, which has derided netbooks but which has suggested that its own mobile OS for the iPhone and iPod touch offered many of the same features in a pore portable design.