Acer Announces Q3 Android-Based Netbook

Acer, maker of the popular Aspire netbook, has said it will release an Android-powered netbook in the US in Q3. According to Reuters:

Acer was the first PC vendor to officially announce that it was making Android PCs, weeks after it said it planned to launch smartphones -- mobile phones packed with advanced computer-like capabilities -- on the same platform later this year.

There's already a Chinese Android netbook apparently. But this would be the first major OEM to offer one and in a Western market. The fact that Android is open-source means that the computer could be cheaper than comparable Windows XP-based netbook. However, carrier subsidies (AT&T and Verizon) are driving down the cost of netbooks to $99. In the UK mobile operator O2 offered a netbook for free with a service contract.

We'll have to wait and see how it stacks up performance-wise against Windows. If it does it will represent a strong challenge to Microsoft in this emerging and fast-growing segment of the market. As the conventional laptop and PC desktop markets have suffered in the recession so have Microsoft's profits. However the company says that it today owns about 90% of the netbook market, which is actually more than its PC OS share according to Net Applications

In the context of discussing a range of "major announcements" that we would be hearing about this year involving Android devices, Google CEO Eric Schmidt previously said (during the Google Q1 earnings call): 

On the netbook side, there are a number of people who have actually taken Android and ported it over to netbook or netbook-similar devices. So we think that’s another one of the great benefits of the open source model that we’ve used. We’re excited that that investment is occurring. And again, largely outside of Google, which we think is great.

Google is banking on the browser and The Cloud as a replacement for desktop software. At the Google I/O event last week the company talked at length about HTML 5 and the impressive capabilities it brought to the browser.