A recent annoucement by third party computer manufacturer Acer, reveals plans to launch a new breed of their popular Aspire one netbook, featuring Google’s Android operating system.
A rendition of Linux was the initial choice of the first netbooks by Asus, since then however, Microsoft Windows has grown to control 96% of the netbook OS market and with a lightweight version of Windows 7 planned fo release in October, they undoubtedly want to hold onto their monopoly.
Google’s Android operating system has, until now, only been featured as a mobile OS. It was initially released on the T-Mobile G1 and HTC Dream smart phones, but is set to expand its portfolio, powering close to a dozen smart phones in the next year. It now appears that phones aren’t the only thing on Google’s mind, and Acer has realized the value that a light weight, open source, perfectly syncronized OS has to offer.
Acer already has a version of it’s Aspire One with a Linux distro (Linpus) available, whether or not they intend to offer three OS choices to consumers remains to be seen.
Acer unveils its first Aspire One netbook featuring the Android operating system to offer users outstanding wireless Internet capability. The Android operating system will provide Acer netbook users with faster connection to the Internet, further enhancing efficiency on-the-go.
“Netbooks are designed to be compact in size and easy to connect to the Internet wherever you go,” said Jim Wong, president of IT Products Global Operation, Acer Inc., “The Android operating system offers incredibly fast wireless connection to the Internet; for this reason, Acer has decided to develop Android netbooks for added convenience to our customers.”
The introduction of Android into Acer netbooks presents customers with another choice of operating system. In addition to Microsoft’s operating system, the majority of Acer netbooks will also offer Android in the future. Users may then select their preferred choice of operating system. Acer believes the Android operating system will contribute significantly to the worldwide netbook market growth.
Android is a free, open source, and fully customizable mobile platform. Its full stack offering includes an operating system, middleware, and key mobile applications. Third-party developers can customize and integrate Android applications, bringing true add-on value to benefit the end-users.
Acer plans to launch its first Aspire One netbooks with Android in Q3 2009.
Update: June 5th 2009:
A report by Digitimes has Acer Chairmen JT Wang admitting that the Android netbook will in fact NOT be solely reliant on the Google OS, but will dual boot with Windows XP as the primary operating system. This is quite the blow to open source enthusiasts, but is arguabley a safer method for the consumer as the Android software is relatively untested and unestablished in the computer system market, potentially leading to serious issues with regards to compatibility, troubleshooting and adoption.
For mainstream consumers, the addition of Android will have a limited effect as it will not translate to cheaper products as some market watchers anticipated. In fact, the second operating system increases the complexity of the netbook and my 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.