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Acer: Android netbook to come with... Windows

Dual-boot downer for FOSS fans

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Acer, it seems, has accepted Register Hardware's argument that World+Dog doesn't want - or, at least, doesn't know it wants - netbooks based on Google's Android OS.

Company chairman J T Wang has said Acer's promised Android mini laptop will actually come with Windows too.

Yes, the machine, currently scheduled to ship in Q3, will be a dual-boot box. According to reports, Wang said such a set-up was necessary because it's not yet clear that consumers want Android.

That means Acer's netbook customers will be paying the Windows tax no matter what, ensuring the Android-equipped laptops won't be any less expensive than Windows-only netbooks.

That said, Acer may choose to use Android in an intelligent way. Rather than simply offering it as an alternative to Windows, it could use the Google OS as the foundation of a fast-boot mini OS along the likes of Asus' ExpressGate, a Linux-derived system that provides core netbook functionality within 15 seconds of pressing the On key.

That would allow users to try out the operating system without being forced to make a choice - do I run Windows or do I run Android - most folk aren't sufficiently knowledgeable to make. Instead, they get both operating systems rather the choice of selecting one or the other.

If they find Android delivers all they need a netbook to provide, they may never continue on to the Windows desktop. Now that would be a victory for open source software. ®

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