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A few days before the launch of Windows 7, Acer has released the first netbook to ship with the Google Android operating system. And a juicy tidbit has come out of an early review: Android comes with Mozilla Firefox for Web browsing, not Google’s own Chrome browser or the Android browser that comes on mobile phones.
Google has previously announced its intentions to get into the netbook game with Chrome OS, but with Android’s ready availability, it was always going to be first onto machines. Acer had said that it wanted to get Android onto its netbooks soon, and last week, the company launched the popular 10-inch AOD250 mini-laptop for this purpose. Full specifications and features can be found here.
However, the AOD250 isn’t solely an Android device. Acer has included the option of dual-booting into Windows XP – a much-needed option, according to a review of the new system by PC Mag.
“What looks like a peel-off tab on the top left corner gets you back into Windows XP, in case frustration builds—and it will,” writes reviewer Cisco Cheng.
By all accounts of the review, Android for netbooks appears to be half-baked as of now. The home screen has four gadgets (Google Talk, Firefox, Webmail, and Calendar), while a further 20 are housed in a slide-out tab on the far right (including system settings, multimedia, Webcam, Gmail).
With no Android Marketplace available, there is no document editing program available. So even if send or receive emails with Word documents or spreadsheets, Android won’t recognize them.
And since Google has not yet come out with an official stable version of Chrome for Linux, the Android system still runs on Mozilla Firefox. Of course, using the default Android Web browser for cell phones would be quite inconvenient on a computer. The reviewer notes that while it handles most Web sites like any normal Windows version of Firefox would, sometimes, certain key commands wouldn’t register in Google Search or Firefox.
“As with past Linux operating systems, the advantages of having one are for quicker boot times and better battery savings than Windows XP. Otherwise, Android for netbooks has a long way to go before it can work alone,” the review concludes.