Acer Delays Android Netbook, But Should Just Kill It

google-chrome-netbookEarlier this year, Acer announced plans to create a dual-boot netbook capable of running Microsoft Windows XP and Google Android. But while that might have made sense at the time, that was before Google announced its Google Chrome OS. And so I’ve I questioned Acer’s plan to continue with its Android netbook strategy. I just don’t see much value in the company spending development time and money on Android as an addition to a netbook that’s already running a very capable OS.

It appears the market agrees with me, because Acer is pushing back the launch of the dual-boot netbook, DigiTimes is reporting. Original plans were for an August release, but due to lack of market demand, Acer is now reportedly waiting until at least November. As DigiTimes writes:

“[F]urther evaluation has found demand for an Android netbook is not strong enough, and it has therefore decided to postpone the launch of the model.”

I’m not sure that demand for an Android netbook will be any stronger a few months from now, either. In fact, I suspect it will be even weaker. Microsoft is due to launch Windows 7, which runs perfectly well on today’s netbooks, in October. And Google’s Chrome OS isn’t too far behind, with a launch set for the second half of 2010. In the meantime, Ubuntu’s latest version already includes a “Netbook Remix” edition. Where does that leave room for Android on a netbook?

I was hot for Android on a netbook late last year, but much has changed since then. We’ve yet to see much traction for ARM-based netbooks, making it an x86 world for now. And putting a handset operating system on a 10-inch netbook display is like cramming Mac OS X on a 1024×600 screen — I’ve done it, and the experience isn’t optimal. At this point, Android may have missed the netbook boat — even if Acer isn’t quite ready to admit it.

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