Acer is the first manufacturer to offer Google's Android operating system on a netbook. Is this a turning point for the market? Or not? We review the Acer Aspire One D250 to find out.
When we first reviewed the Acer Aspire One, we have to admit we were smitten. Yes, we were shallow enough for its looks to bowl us over.
But the summer of 2008 was a long time ago, at least in the world of netbooks, and our affections have certainly moved on since then. Therefore, rather than going to all that bother of actually designing a new model, Acer has simply done something to divert attention back onto its old one by making it the first netbook to run the Google Android operating system.
Android stretched wide on a netbook display. A bit odd really.
However, Acer has not been so left-field to ditch Windows support altogether. Instead the Aspire One dual boots between Android and Windows,with XP or Windows 7 as your choices. The latter adds £30 to the price and was what was supplied on our review sample.
So apart from the novelty factor, why has Acer decided to add Android to its netbook? The most immediate reason is its boot speed. Indeed, after 15 seconds you'll find yourself in the world Android and ready to connect and get online.
It feels strange at first using the keyboard and mouse to get to all the settings on Android.
Once there, you'll find the somewhat odd experience of seeing Android on a laptop, or at least, a netbook. You'll find the familiar clock on the desktop but other than that the Android desktop is nearly bare. Naturally, your instinct will be to touch the screen, but this isn't a touch-screen netbook, which considering the presence of Windows 7 is a shame.
As on a mobile you can scroll onto extended screens on the left and right of of the main display using the arrow keys. It can't be said though that the keyboard and mouse ever feel particularly natural to use with Android, but it gets the job done. Scroll to the left and you get a large Google search bar, and as soon as you start typing suggested searches appears.
Processor: Intel Atom N270
Hard disk: 250GB
Display: 10.1in, 1,024 x 600
Connectivity: 802.11g, Bluetooth, Ethernet
Ports: 3x USB, headphone, microphone, Kensington lock
Battery: 6-cell 4400mAh