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back to article Acer: Android netbook coming in Q3

Acer will indeed make and sell an Android-based netbook, a company executive has said. We're just unconvinced it'll be any more successful than its Linux netbooks. The confirmation came from Acer's head of IT products, Jim Wong, by way of Bloomberg. Wong said the Android netbook will debut in Q3, the newsagency reports. We can' …

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Linux

why ?

Why is every so excited about Android on Netbooks when we can put Win7 or Ubuntu on almost every netbook out there, enjoy thousands of applications and still have 8+ hours of work?

The only possible reasons I would see is non-intel processors support and super small screen support (screen so small that standard desktop menus get really weird in size) ... but let's be honest, can you really do any work on anything smaller than 9'' screen (and call it netbook and not smart phone)?

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Thumb Down

Android?

I think people will prefer a real OS on their netbooks.

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Stop

@ Jimbo

"...we can put Win7 or Ubuntu on..."

We can? Win7 does not exist! To state that unreleased software will work "on almost every netbook out there" is, frankly, disingenuous.

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Silver badge

What about linpus?

The netbook concept is a good one. I have an AA1 running linux and fragile screen aside I am very happy with it. I would like to see more development of the linux distros they already have than work on developing something new.

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Bronze badge

netbook=linux

The columnist is wrong! The netbooks did well because tech-savy people found them very useful and ways in how to use them. Soon average joe saw people using them, they become envy and wanted one. After spending the money they started complaining about the fraking "notebook" for not having "Guidows"! It was then that the makers started thinking that "everyone" whanted "guidows" (with a little push from Microsoft) so, let them launch thousands of different netbooks with "XPirience", they will fail, and when that will happens, they will know that netbooks are for linux power users, not for a bunch of dumbs

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Linux

Acer wants a mix, not a single OS

Android on a netbook doesn't have to replace Win7 to be successful. I think Acer will be happy if they sell 20% or more of their overall netbook footprint that way. After all, Dell and Acer both have reported that about a third of their netbook sales have been Linux this year.

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Could be interesting...

Like you, I doubt that Android will grab much of the market, but it could be neat. I'm always interested in a non-x86 machine I can get my hands on (those microvaxen are still so expensive!) but I doubt that will do a lot to sell these things. And if they do use an Arm processor, they should be able to blow any Atom out of the water, power consuption-wise. Just hope they pick a model with a FPU, for obvious reasons.

Honestly the 9" screen size limit suggested by Jimbo isn't terribly important - it's the resolution that counts, and I'm sure an Arm powered netbook running /anything/ will have quite a useless resolution. Which is sort of sad, really.

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Unhappy

who wants to sell cheap netbooks?

<quote> We can certainly see companies like Acer releasing Android netbooks to test the level of demand, but we're not convinced they're going to be hugely successful unless they manage to offer a battery life well in excess of what Atom-based XP machines offer today.

But that demand will come in spite of Android, not because of it. Ditto if it sells by the bucketload because it's cheap, which was why the original 7in, Linux-only Eee PC did so well. </quote>

But which company wants to sell at the cheap end of the netbook market? All the netbooks that I see in stores now are AUD $100 more than what I payed for my pre-Atom Eeepc 900. I guess the profit margins are higher on the more expensive netbooks.

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Paris Hilton

WHY

PLEASE SOMEONE HELP

Why on earth are we going backwards with cpus etc. its a joke.

why why why

Paris as she would not even be that dumb to buy one

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@Nexox & Jimbo

Nexox writes: "I'm sure an Arm powered netbook running /anything/ will have quite a useless resolution."

Why do you think that? Most Wintel netbooks have only 1024x640 (or less). The prototype Acer showed at Computex (http://www.obsessable.com/news/2009/06/01/asus-eee-pc-spotted-running-android-os-on-qualcomms-snapdragon-chipset/) seemed to have at least this screen resolution on a 10" screen, and the 1.0 GHz Snapdragon processor used was claimed to be able to play 720p HD video (with 1080p available next year with the 1.3GHz Snapdragon).

While Snapdragon is impressive, I believe the coming Cortex A9 multicore processors will run in circles around this (and Intel's Atom).

The only thing you can't do on an ARM-based netbook that you can do on an Atom-based netbook is run Windows.

Jimbo writes: "Why is every so excited about Android on Netbooks when we can put Win7 or Ubuntu on almost every netbook out there, enjoy thousands of applications and still have 8+ hours of work?"

Why would anyone want to run Win7 Starter edition on a netbook? Microsoft is riddling this with weird limitations. First was the idea of limiting to three simultaneous applications, but now this seems to have been dropped in favour of banning DVD playback and other media features (see http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7/archive/2009/05/29/let-s-talk-about-windows-7-starter.aspx). I predict that most users who buy a netbook with Win7 Starter edition will soon install a "real" OS, such as Linux or a full edition Windows. But, yes, Android seems to offer little over standard Linux installations.

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Boffin

Snapdragon

Snapdragon as a full-blown DSP onboard, as well as the ARM. It's intended that an HD decoder, up to 720p can simply be offloaded onto it.

It's also got a 3G radio, Bluetooth radio and WLAN radio built in, so no need for a separate chips/dongles for those functions.

It's also got smartphone / ipod style 3G rendering by the sounds of it.

It should make for a far cheaper machine than the Atom powered equivalent. I would defintely consider buying one, so long as the price is right and drivers for all those ancilliaries are in the open source domain.

And it will be fun finding out how well qemu can run x86 binaries on it when source isn't available.

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@ Patrick.

"Why on earth are we going backwards with cpus etc. its a joke."

My guess is extended battery life and the ability to do away with cooling fans.

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Gates Horns

Evidence?

Where is the actual evidence that everyone wants Windows installed on their netbook? I think it's far more likely that bribes/bullying/pressure from Microsoft is the reason why Windows has taken over from Linux in the netbook arena.

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@Patrick

Patric wrote: "Why on earth are we going backwards with cpus etc."

Backwards? Moving from x86 to ARM is a step forwards. x86 started as 8086, which was a minimal 16-bit extension of Intel's 8080 processor (it was even assembly code compatible) and has had 32-bit extensions clamped on later, so it is a horrible mess.

ARM, on the other hand, was designed from the start to be a 32-bit architecture, and as such is much cleaner (though some extensions has been clamped on this too).

As for processor speed, the newest ARMs (Snapdragon and Tegra) can easily compete with Intel's Atom, and the coming Cortex A9 processors will be similar to Intel's desktop processors in power.

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@JahBless and Re: Evidence

Linux power users… what’s that... Maybe about 1% of the market at best? Not sure such paltry demand will be the prime driver for the manufacturers! Though I think JahBless answered AC’s question (Title: “Evidence?”) in that yes, techies started the trend but mainstream public demanded Windows because their experience didn’t extend to using the crap Linux distros in the netbooks. Of course, JahBless has also managed to extend the stereotype by shovelling all non-Linux users into the stupid, dumb (l)user category, then wonders why the mainstream public dislike the attitude of most Linux users and their superiority complex…

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Anonymous Coward

non-x86 processors

I guess no one else enjoyed the 'instant-on' capabilities of the Psion line of computers. For me and many others that plus the long battery life (40 hours on a pair of AAs -- can be bought anywhere in the world and swapped in when you run out of batteries) was the real killer application; oh, and a proper keyboard and decent screen and flash memory, hence no moving parts and very rugged construction. With the 'instant on' of an ARM processor (it didn't actually switch off, simply powered down to an extremely low power state and powered up again effectively instantly) it was possible to turn the computer off and save battery life while one paused to consider one's next sentence. In fact the 40 hour life of the original Psion S5 translated to about a month's usage for me between battery changes. The faster and more power hungry 5mx needed new batteries every two weeks.

It is incredible that people are touting four and five hour battery lives - or even eight - as marvellous, when the machines still need to be dragged back to a power socket if one is to continue working (and have you seen the size of the batteries!). I want to be able to go away on vacation without bringing a power charger, safe in the knowledge that my batteries will last the whole vacation and in case they don't I can buy a pair of AAs should I need them. I guess that's why I'm still using my Psions.

So to the poster who couldn't understand why anyone would want a computer that used a non-x86 processor, I suggest that there may be more usage scenarios for computers than they are capable of imagining. (Think people away from power sources, in cars, on boats, camping, in the third world, hiking, cycling, etc. etc.)

All the best.

I

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