Acer's Latest Netbook Runs Both Android and Windows 7

Paul Lilly

Holy dual-platforming netbooks, Batman, have you seen Acer's revamped Aspire One D250? The netbook has developed a split personality since we last saw it and now rolls with both Google's open-source Android OS and Microsoft's closed-source Windows 7 software in 32-bit form.

But this isn't your typical dual-booting setup. To load Windows 7, you must first fire up Android and poke around the OS's slide-out menu to select "Switch OS." Jim Wong, Acer's Senior Corporate VP, downplayed the additional step, noting that Android gives users "instant on" functionality. And judging by the YouTube clip , he's right - following the POST screen, Android appears to boot in under 10 seconds.

Acer's dual-boot strategy is a continuation of the company's previous plan to ship a combo Android/WinXP ultraportable. Acer's original stance was that Android hadn't matured to the point where it would be a suitable OS for netbooks, at least in standalone form, and that a dual-boot solution would carry less risk than an Android-only netbook. There's probably some truth to that, considering XP-based netbooks remain a much more popular choice than ones running Linux.

The downside to dual-booting is that Acer still has to factor in the cost of a Windows 7 license, so it seems pointless to toss an open-source OS into the fray without the benefity of a cost reduction. But Acer might be on to something by using Android as essentially a Splashtop replacement, which would count as an extra feature for those who planned on purchased a Windows 7-based netbook anyway.

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