But now, the real question is whether or not Android is powerful enough to stand up to Windows. Is it capable of achieving the kind of success Acer requires?
I think so.
The beauty of Android is that it's easily modified. In the PC industry, differentiation is a key success factor. Without it, there's no way for the customer to decide between computers. That's why in the notebook space, the computer's design is so important. If Microsoft has its way, the same will be true in the netbook sector -- the OS will be the same in the vast majority of computers, requiring vendors to innovate on design.
Android changes that. The open OS gives Acer the opportunity to develop an Android operating system that's unique to its hardware. That means Acer can modify its design to make it more appealing to netbook users. The company can even change what sort of software comes bundled with the OS.
Which brings us to another point: apps. Thanks to the Android Marketplace, anyone who buys the Acer netbook with Android installed will be able to immediately enhance it. No matter what they're looking for, from project management to music apps, the Android Marketplace will provide users with what they want at little or no cost. Plus, those apps can be downloaded from the Web, so the need for a DVD drive in the netbook -- a major complaint for Windows-based netbook users -- won't be so great. That will, once again, contribute heavily to the affordability of the netbook.
We also can't discount the possibility of hardware advancements. Right now, netbooks are mininotebooks, complete with a touchpad and keyboard. But consider the fact that Android was originally developed to be an operating system for touch screen devices, and it quickly becomes clear that netbooks sporting Google technology might become more advanced than we think.
Doesn't it stand to reason that because Android was developed for touch screen devices, Acer might try to release a netbook sporting a touch screen? It's a real possibility.
And just for good measure, let's list all the features Windows 7 Starter Edition -- the SKU designed for "Low cost small notebook PCs" -- won't have:
Aero Glass. Users can only use "Windows Basic" themes.
The ability to change window colors, sound schemes, and desktop backgrounds.
The option to switch users without logging off.
Windows Media Center.
Media Streaming. Users won't be able to stream music, videos, or television from a home computer.
So there you have it. Windows 7 Starter Edition will be a joke. Some say it's designed for netbooks, but comparing it to Android, which provides an unlimited number of possibilities and apps that can extend the functionality of the OS far beyond Windows 7, doesn't make much sense. Acer made the right move by bringing Android to netbooks. It might not be the most obvious choice, but it's starting to look like it's the best choice. Watch out, Microsoft.
Google could make you look foolish -- again.