Laptop maker hedges its bets – and puts paid to hopes of an Android-fuelled price crash
Acer, which announced a netbook based on Google’s mobile operating system Android, has said the device will also have Windows for back-up.
New details have emerged regarding Acer announcement last week, that it will be shipping netbooks running the Google Android operating system. According to Digitimes, based in Taipei, Taiwan, the netbooks will be dual-OS and run both Android and Windows.
Acer Chairman JT Wang believes consumer acceptance of Android is still unclear, according to Digitimes; while it seemed Acer was making a splash in choosing Android, the company is instead more likely dipping in a toe to test the waters.
“The idea of Android on a netbook is compelling,” John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK after the initial Acer news. Spooner pointed out that Gmail, Google Docs and other applications are all available on Android, and that a lot of loyalty to Windows simply has to do with familiarity.
Strategy Analytics says Android is the fastest-growing smartphone OS, and it expects to see growth of 900 percent in 2009. Click here to read more.
There was a hope, too, that Android could potentially lower the already low prices of netbooks. With a dual-OS platform, however, this possibility disappears.
“The second operating system increases the complexity of the netbook and may lead to increased support costs, which Acer will need to account for in the purchase price. On the other hand, Acer will be able to promote Android as a value-added feature, similar to Asustek Computer’s Express Gate, to account for any price premium,” reported Digitimes.
Acer’s Wang reportedly offered that he wouldn’t rule out shipping an Android-only netbook, should demand from wireless carriers increase.
In the United States, carriers have been offering netbooks bundled with 3G service and smartphone-like subsidy plans. On June 4, Ericsson launched a module for embedding wireless broadband in netbooks, which it hopes will enable carriers to bring the products to market more quickly.