Acer will likely be the first major PC maker to ship netbook computers that run Google’s (GOOG) free, open-source Android operating system. Acer will start selling the new notebooks in Q3, according to Reuters.
This is the latest market where Google hopes to disrupt rival Microsoft (MSFT). Because Android is free, it means that Acer will be able to sell the netbooks for cheaper than Windows-based computers. Analysts estimate that a copy of Windows XP costs the PC maker about $25; a full version of the forthcoming Windows 7 could be much more. (Though that’s why Microsoft is planning to offer much-cheaper Windows 7 Starter for netbooks.)
The question is whether Android will be good enough for consumers to keep it instead of Windows. So far, Linux-based netbooks have not taken off.
Meanwhile, that’s not going to make things any cozier with Microsoft. But that’s the point.
Acer shipped 8.8 million computers in Q1, representing 13% of the worldwide market, according to Gartner. That’s up from 9.6% market share a year ago.