Acer Netbooks Will Dual-Boot Android and Windows 7

In what will surely provide a boost to Google's Android platform outside the smartphone arena, computer maker Acer reportedly announced on Wednesday that all of its upcoming dual-core netbooks will run both Android and Windows 7.

The announcement was made at Acer's Taiwan launch of its new dual-core Aspire One netbooks, which will feature Intel's Atom 550 processor as well as Android, according to a report in DigiTimes.

The move is expected to increase demand by providing "more efficiency to consumers" while costing Acer very little, the report said.

Also included in the new "Happy" Aspire One netbooks will be a built-in 250GB hard drive, the Taipei Times reported. [http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/archives/2010/10/07/2003484712] Priced at US$431, the machines will reportedly be available in Taiwan this month.

Citing recent figures from Gartner, Acer Taiwan president Scott Lin also asserted that tablets will not replace netbooks anytime soon. Acer reportedly expects to ship 10 million netbooks this year.

An Instant-On Option

It's not uncommon for computer users to run two operating systems on a laptop or desktop--usually Linux and Windows--but it's still pretty rare to see that capability provided as a standard specification.

Acer's existing Aspire One D250 and Aspire One D260 have already provided the dual-boot option with Android and Windows for some time, as has the Taiwan-only Aspire One D255, which is based on the single-core Atom N450, according to reports. Typically, Android functions as an instant-on operating system for such devices.

Dell, in fact, has experimented with an Ubuntu Linux option on its machines as well. For Acer to go so far as to make Linux-based Android--and dual-booting in general--a standard specification, however, is a significant endorsement of both.

This is one more piece of evidence that it is no longer a Windows-only world, despite what Microsoft would have us believe. Rather, choices abound, in operating systems as in virtually everything else. With all the many arguments in favor of both Linux and Android, it's exciting to see a hardware maker recognize that all consumers--not just technically minded enthusiasts--may want something better.

Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.

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