Acer recently announced that it’ll be selling Android netbooks later this year. This will likely set off a round of news articles and opinion pieces calling for the death of Windows on netbooks. That’s not going to happen, though. I’d read this news as Acer using Android to replace the Linpus Linux Lite interface that the company currently offers on its Linux-powered netbook selections.
The Linux interface that Acer currently uses is fine but it’s a far cry from Android, so using the more-polished, relatively popular open source platform will certainly be a step up. But will Android on netbooks take a huge bite out of Windows-based netbooks? Probably not, at least not at first. There’s a reason Best Buy, for example, decided to sell Windows-only netbooks after a short dance with Linux offerings. Regular people are comfortable with Windows and a lot of regular people buy netbooks. And when a regular person buys a computer they expect a computer operating system, not a cell phone operating system. Not that Android is purely a cell phone operating system by any means, but regular people equate Android to cell phones (if they’ve even heard of Android).
For the rest of us, though, especially those of us who use Android regularly, the idea of Android on a netbook makes the choice between Linux and Windows a bit murkier, especially if there’s a big difference in price. Windows XP apparently costs $25 for a PC maker to load onto a netbook, which may add $35 to $50 to the consumers’ final price. Suddenly, for someone like me who uses both Windows and Android on a regular basis, I may just be tempted to go with an Android netbook.
No detailed pricing or availability on Acer’s Android netbooks except that they’ll be here sometime in the third quarter.