The latest buzz in analyst circles is that tablet PCs are destined to destroy the market for netbooks. I don’t buy that theory at all, especially since it implies that tablets and netbooks can’t somehow coexist. Scott thinks they’ll converge, and Acer may be moving in that direction already. According to DigiTimes, Aspire One netbooks based on Intel’s new dual-core Atom CPU will come pre-loaded with Google’s Android operating system in addition to Windows 7.
Android might seem like an odd choice for a device that lacks a touchscreen, but it should load much faster than Windows, making it ideal for those moments when you just want to quickly check your email or get in a few minutes of surfing. We’ve seen laptops dual-boot instant-on operating systems before, of course, but most have been proprietary Linux-based solutions with limited features. Android should offer considerably more functionality, although it’s unclear whether Acer’s netbooks will have access to Google’s app store—not all Android-powered devices do.
Acer already makes several convertible tablets based on Intel’s Consumer Ultra-Low Voltage platform, so its portfolio has all the pieces for a netbook/tablet hybrid. If Acer moves in that direction, it’ll be interesting to see whether the company trickles its twist-and-flip convertible screen tech down to Atom-based hardware or moves Android upmarket and into CULV territory. Both paths offer intriguing potential.