There was a considerable amount of excitement when Google announced Chrome OS. Many felt that it was a significant development that would not only have an impact on Google's future, but on Microsoft's future.

But the fate of one Android-based netbook may be a sign of things to come for Google's OS efforts.

Acer, of the world's largest laptop and netbook manufacturers, has pushed back the launch of a dual-boot Android/Windows XP netbook due to a lack of demand. According to a DigiTimes story:

...further evaluation has found demand for an Android netbook is not strong enough.

Surprise, surprise.

What's interesting is that a lot of things had been said about an Android-based netbook were said about Chrome OS. In December 2008, Kevin C. Tofel of GigaOm wrote:

Clearly, Android is Google-centric and therefore optimized for a heavy web experience. In its current iteration it has a solid web browser, although the search giant could tailor a version of Chrome for a netbook-sized screen. It has a drop-dead simple and seamless software store in the Android Marketplace for third-party apps. Plus, it’s not a clunky desktop operating system that’s been sliced, diced or remixed for the smaller screen.

Solid web browser. Drop-dead simple. Nice idea. Sound familiar?

When Acer announced its plans for the Android netbook, Clay Dillow of FastCompany took it further and brought on the now-routine Microsoft 'threat' talk:

But the introduction of Android, originally developed as an OS for smartphones, to the netbook market could present a major threat to Microsoft's bottom line in that sector. Microsoft charges about $20 per netbook for use of its Windows XP operating system. Google charges nothing, making Android an attractive option for netbook makers competing to offer the least expensive option.

Of course, Android isn't an attractive option for netbook makers if nobody wants it. The fact that Acer reportedly couldn't muster up enough demand for an Android netbook that could dual-boot Windows XP is, in my opinion, an even stronger rebuke to Google's efforts since it likely shows a total consumer disregard for Android. The message: what's Android and why would I want it?

With Microsoft launching Windows 7 before the year is out and Google Chrome OS not expected to be released until 2010, I don't think Google's prospects are good here. Don't be surprised if hardware manufacturers who have signed on to support Chrome OS take note of Android's fate in this market.

Photo credit: jyri via Flickr.

Patricio Robles

Published 29 July, 2009 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)



I think it would make sense for them to wait for Google to launch Chrome OS, as it´s specifically designed for netbooks. Why fiddle around with Android, which wasn´t?

almost 9 years ago

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