Acer To Use Android On Its Netbooks

Dell and HP have said they, too, are looking at Google's open source operating system as a possible OS for their mini-laptops.
The race to produce netbooks based on Google's Android operating system is intensifying as an Acer executive said he expects his company will release a subnotebook with Android software in the third quarter.

Jim Wong, Acer's president of IT products, made the announcement and indicated that Android's speed in accessing the Internet is the chief selling point of the open source operating system for Acer.

"Netbooks are designed to be compact in size and easy to connect to the Internet wherever you go," Wong said in a statement. "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." Wong said Acer plans to continue to offer Windows on its line of Aspire One models.

There's a widespread movement under way to offer the Android operating system -- originally designed for mobile phones -- across a wide swath of devices, including netbooks, DTVs, set-top boxes, and even digital picture frames. Earlier this week, for instance, MIPS Technologies announced that it's making the Android platform available on its MIPS architecture. In addition, some large computer makers, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, have said they're looking at Android as a possible operating system for their netbooks.

Acer isn't likely to be the first with an Android operating system. Skytone Transmission Technologies of Guangzhou, China, has been displaying its "Alpha-680 Google Android netbook" on its Web site for a few weeks. The device looks like a typical netbook and has a 7-inch display. It uses ARM processors. Skytone has a history of making Skype headsets and children's computers.

The use of ARM processors could represent a particular challenge for Microsoft, because it doesn't currently offer its operating systems on battery-efficient ARM processors, but rather on Intel's Atom, which is used on most netbooks today. Microsoft's XP is widely used on netbooks.

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