Acer looks like it’s willing to try anything as it rolls out an Android-based all-in-one PC for $1100.
The Acer TA272 HUL has a 27-inch screen with resolution of 2560 by 1440 pixels. It runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean on an Nvidia Tegra 4 processor and has 16GB of storage, a 2-megapixel webcam, and a USB 3.0 port. It also has HDMI and DisplayPort inputs so it can become an external monitor for other devices. Acer hasn’t said how much RAM the computer has, but we’d guess either 1GB or 2GB.
In other words, it’s the guts of a typical Android phone or tablet inside a much larger touchscreen with a multi-angled kickstand. Acer says its Android all-in-one is “ideal for home entertainment, browsing, and sharing,” which is a reasonable statement given that Android is substandard for desktop-level productivity.
Unlike Windows or Mac OS X, Android has no windowing system for multitasking, and offers only primitive mouse and keyboard support. The things you’d expect from a desktop OS, such as being able to right-click on something to bring up a context menu, aren’t supported in Android.
The lack of Adobe Flash support is a bigger drawback on a full-blown computer than on mobile devices and, of course, Android versions of programs like Photoshop and Chrome aren’t nearly as useful as their desktop counterparts.
So is Acer’s $1100 price tag justified? In fairness, it’s hard to find Windows-based all-in-one PCs with displays with this large of a screen and this kind of resolution for this cheap (though the Microsoft Store currently has one from Lenovo for just $100 more).
Meanwhile, some standalone monitors with the same screen resolution are pretty expensive, so you could think of Acer’s model as just a monitor for your Windows desktop with Android thrown in. But whether people actually want their Windows machines with a side of Android is the question of the moment.
Acer says the TA272 HUL is now shipping worldwide, but details on U.S. availability are unclear.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.