back to article Acer cozies up to Google with new 'droid PCs and fondleslab, Chromebook

Acer might traditionally be a Microsoft client, but the OEM is using next week's CES to display a much deeper relationship with Google, sticking the Chocolate Factory's Android operating system on two new all-in-one desktop PCs and a new tablet, and adding another Chromebook to its lineup. The all-in-one systems can be used as …


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  1. Mikel

    Haswell Chromebooks with the Nexus 10 screen

    Some of the things I would like to see. The subject. 12" 300 DPI Android tablet at a decent price, preferably a Nexus. More wearables. Better Android sticks. More of those tiny things like NUC. Wireless display dongles for your TV that let you add screens for an Android device or Chrome book. An Affordable projector.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Haswell Chromebooks with the Nexus 10 screen

      The hardware is basically there (Sony Flip15)

  2. Bob Vistakin

    So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

    Payback is such a bitch.

    1. Tom 7

      Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

      I wonder where we would be with portable computing if MS hadn’t effectively added 30-50% or more to the price of netbooks all those years ago.

      And with software too.

      1. jason 7

        Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

        It wasn't software or cost that was Netbooks problem.

        It was Intels crappy hardware spec restrictions.

        Using a netbook was not a satisfying experience whether using Linux or Windows. The poor screen depth and slow CPU just killed the experience for me and many others.

        (sits looking accusatory at his long abandoned Acer One wtih Ubuntu netbook edition on it's 8GB SSD)

        Amazes me how many laptop reviews we have where people pile in going "Screen not good enough!" but netbooks always get a free pass on that one when their screens couldn't even handle most task/action windows.

        1. Joe Montana

          Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

          It was Microsoft who placed restrictions on netbook specs, not Intel... If your hardware was above a certain spec you were charged full price for windows instead of the cheaper netbook version.

          Intel would quite happily sell you any spec hardware you wanted, and would prefer to sell the higher spec components.

          1. jason 7

            Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

            Well a search on 'Netbook Spec restrictions' seems to point the finger at both Intel and MS. MS more for machines that wanted to run Windows 7.

            Seems Intel set the original spec (Netbooks started with linux after all) that doomed them. Always saw netbooks as a way for Intel to clean out its crap low power stuff that the industry demanded but no one actualy wanted at the time.

            1. mmeier

              Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

              Netbooks had quite a few problems:

              Small and low res screens

              A lousy mass storage interface due to the limits of the Atom CPU

              Low maximum memory, again the Atom

              Low powered and problematic graphics due to the Atoms on board graphics

              Their "benefits" where light weight and longish endurance. Interesting for some users but not for the majority. For them "price" was the only selling feature

              As soon as notebooks became more common, be they second hand units from end of leasing be it new boxes the days of the netbook where mostly doomed. 2-3h on battery are "good enough" for most users and a 12-14'' screen with a 1280x800 or better resolution beats the 1024x600 "vision slit" of the average netbook

              1. jason 7

                Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

                Well most people saw the netbook as a handy alternative to lugging a 14" (as they mostly were then) laptop around on holiday.

                My laptop back then weighed over 3kg with a brick for a power supply so wasn't a nice thought.

                So the use of them for email and a bit of web browsing on hols etc or as a cheap machine for the kids to play on was all well intentioned.

                Shortly the shortcomings you list bit hard due to average folks not having a clue about hardware specs and their ramifications. The love turned to hate.

                Then tablets arrived that did the whole internet, media consumption and time wasting in a far more expansive and instant manner and netbooks were dead in the water.

                Still they had their 15 minutes of fame.

                For me Chromebooks are essentially a tablet with a keyboard. Bridging the gap between tablet and full laptop.

    2. mmeier

      Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

      Ah, that's the reason Acer has just started to sell the upgraded R7-572 series of Win8 convertibles. 15', NTrig Digitizer and quite a few other gadgets. Acer has been doing more than one OS for quite some time now, nothing new.

      Now if someone can tell me why I should shell out 1100& for an ARM AIO when the same price will buy a similar sized and far more useful x86 based unit, I might be able to understand the market.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

      Yes but are they going to a more open and community driven platform?

      Nope, they're going to a more controlled environment where all of your data is locked up in a Google data centre.

      How is this any better than the current Windows model?

      1. jason 7

        Re: So ... hardware manufacturers are now openly telling Microsoft to get stuffed

        Who in the Average Joe world cares about 'open and community driven'?

        If it really really mattered to the masses, Linux would be king by now. But who is to say that had Linux become the dominant OS, that big corporate interests would not have moved in and basically taken it over as well. If there is a buck to be made...someone wants to control it.

        No, folks want roughly what they are used to and for a good price and size. Everything else is secondary if considered at all.

        Does it do what I want with the minimum of hassle?

        Ethics rarely comes into gadgets.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I tried one of their all-in-one Android systems at a store today

    Slow as crap.

    Amazing the overall slowness I put up with on a phone that I would never put up with on a laptop.

    1. busycoder99

      Re: I tried one of their all-in-one Android systems at a store today

      Imagine how much worse it would be with windoze on it then ...

      1. Gordon 10

        Re: I tried one of their all-in-one Android systems at a store today

        Think you misread the article - they are only used as touch displays for Win 8 - not tablets. So you would have to connect a win 8 desktop/laptop/tablet.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I tried one of their all-in-one Android systems at a store today

        Windows is generally quite responsive. Linux desktops have been known to be less responsive, there were lots of attempts to put a better IO scheduler in Linux over the years. Not to mention the X11 system talking through sockets and the network layer.

    2. Mikel

      Re: I tried one of their all-in-one Android systems at a store today

      Makers were a little too eager with the all-in-one Android devices, and put out some when the mobile CPUs and Android weren't ready yet. Now that we have amazing devices like the Nexus 7 and Android 4.4 to show the way they can be awesome. Android got slimmed down and sped up in 4.4. Quad core 2.2 GHz processors with credible GPU are now common and a negligible portion of the BOM. The price and performance should now be where it needs to be. That is why they call the first launch of any new tech segment "the bleeding edge". Remember the early Android tablets like the Supersonic with resistive touch? The experience was poor but you could tell they were very close to awesome. A few months later came the TF101 and it was off to the races.

      1. mmeier

        Re: I tried one of their all-in-one Android systems at a store today

        Looking at the price - I can get an core-i based unit with similar screen size and touch for that money. And ARM has no real benefits in what is basically a home/entertainment system. Time running is not big enough for the lower power to have a meaningful effect on the power bill,. wakeup time for a Win8 unit is equally short (and cold boot time for Android at least as long as cold booting Win7/Win8) and the x86 unit has more useful software and hardware as well as easier pheriphery access.

  4. frank ly


    Will those giant touchscreens be able to accept a USB keyboard being plugged in?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Keyboard?

      Yes. The one I tried was just a small square block of plastic with some USB, video, and sound ports on the sides of it. The store had it hooked up to a USB mouse and keyboard and to a monitor.

      As I said - it was slow as crap. Took over a minute for the El Reg website to load. Mouse and keyboard input was hit or miss - had to click things on the screen two or three times to get a response.

      It's a bit of a novelty to play with, but from what I could see the lack of responsiveness makes it a total piece of garbage that no one would really want to use. I did notice that when I'm sitting in front of a computer screen, I expect a much more responsive system than when I'm looking at a phone.

      The one thing I like about it is that it's Linux at heart. If the companies give these things a decent set of chips, they'll have enough apps that they'll probably be more useful than Chromebooks.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Keyboard?

        If you give them a "decend" set of chips - you have a Baytrail unit or better. That in turn does not need Android.

  5. Salts

    I would prefer a chrome OS ...

    based unit like this one yes I know the Acer is touch and therefore needs Android, but I don't want/need a touch desktop

    Price would have to be right about 400GBP, after all a 21 inch monitor with quad core one of these

    can be put together for about 200GBP and will run Fedora, therefore an extra 200GBP for camera, nice enclosure(depends on your viewpoint) and the other bits is all I would want to pay.

    Though I can understand why Acer have gone Android, little Jimmy wants a computer and has used an Android phone all his life(kids do get phones at birth now, so I'm told) make it a no brainer for mom & dad, they wont have to set it up and Jimmy can bypass the porn filters for them.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: I would prefer a chrome OS ...

      Chromebooks have touch capability built into the OS. You can buy a new Acer touchscreen Chromebook for $300 US:

  6. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    I wonder what next year's Android will bring.

    Will it surpass Win or iOS alternatives and compete with anything Germany and/or China might choose to release?

    1. Philippe

      What are you on about?

      Compete with anything Germany might choose to release?

      This is an IT forum not a cars one.

  7. Dropper


    I think rather than describing the all-in-one as a PC, it's more of a tablet that can also be used as a monitor for a traditional desktop system.

    The trouble with Android "PCs" is the same as using any kind of tablet for non mobile-like tasks. They're great for entertainment, browsing, social media and email but not very useful for productivity. The gaming experience leaves a lot to be desired too.

    Partly this is because they don't have windowing systems built into the gui and partly because their mouse/keyboard input is so rudimentary. Mostly, however, it's because no one will develop full versions of productivity applications to run on a tablet.

    Software-by-interweb is slow, bug-ridden, painful and expensive, so that isn't much of an option either.

    These are things that can be solved, but by the time you have fixed them you'll end up with an OS as bloated as Windows or Mac OS. Seems to me the better bet would simply to give Linux another spin and pouring development resources into producing Linux versions of traditional applications. It's as fully functioned as either of the industry standard desktop operating systems, it just needs some support from major software houses and some eye candy to keep the users blissfully unaware they're using something complicated. Oh and change the name too, to something like MacindowsAndriOS.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Hmmm

      Or Lindows (been done), or Winux ....... dream on.

    2. poseidon300

      You wish

      Certainly the propaganda operatives of the incumbents will claim that there are no alternatives. We heard that swine-song when LibreOffice was discussed.

      But you know what ? Android already has quite capable office apps and Google Docs should be OK for those who want to have a sidechannel to TPTB.

      The truth is that 486 computers were good enough to do all office tasks and any Android netbook is 10 times more powerful than that.

      Just the craptastic websites full of Flash and badly done JavaScript need the Intel and AMD energy-wasters.

      1. mmeier

        Re: You wish

        How is printing under Android these days? In 2013 the options where:

        + Have a printer the customers printer app supports(1)

        + Have a box with CUPS running (2)

        + Use a web/cloud based printing system(3)

        Same for stuff like Scanners or TV-sticks.

        (1) For totally unexplainable reasons the only Samsung printers supported where the costly (W)LAN models

        (2) Worked 8 out of 10 times

        (3) Assuming your router/ISP worked with that AND you where willing to let Auntie Google look at your data

        1. poseidon300

          Cups just fine, and WHO DOES PRINT these days ?

          If I wanted to print anything (haven't done that quite some time), I would simply transfer the file via USB stick to the "big, energy-guzzling PC" and then print it. But the days of printing everything are very much over.

          Secondly, CUPS on modern Linux distros works much better than the wintel crapola of "google for driver, download two hours, pray to all available deities and then install, might work". HP for example have a totally fucked-up driver support "system" these days.

          With debian or Ubuntu, printer is normally auto-detected and driver auto-installed. I cannoit see why this shouldn't come to ARM netbooks. CUPS is not at all hardware-dependant.

          1. mmeier

            Re: Cups just fine, and WHO DOES PRINT these days ?

            So the answer is - it still does not work. But nice try to dodge the question

            An Android AIO WOULD BE the "big PC" for many buyers and that is used for printing out the stuff still needed in print like writing to the government departments.

            CUPS on Android does not exist. So currently an Android device that needs to print needs another PC that runs Linux to do it OR a printer that supports the vendor specific printer app. THAT was the problem, THAT was the question

  8. poseidon300

    120 Euros Netbook works fine

    I recently bought a 120 Euros netbook with Android and an ARM processor from VIA. Really light device, nice keyboard, more than good enough for discussion boards and youtube. Mouse pointer and trackpad/Mouse also.

    Bring the fire under the backsides of Intel and Microsoft, they deserve it for their anti-competitive tactics. And yeah, I will probably remove all the Google crapola on this device.

    2013 has been the year of The Linux Kernel and 2014 can finish Wintel off, if we buy devices like this.

    Got the thingy from Just search for "netbook, new, 110 to 140 euros".

    And no, I don't benefit financially from promoting this. Don't work for google, the device maker or the trader. I just benefit when the Wintel monopoly burns down. We really need proper competition in the IT industry.

    1. mmeier

      Re: 120 Euros Netbook works fine

      If that's all you need than it is good enough. If not, it is a waste of money.

      Quite a few people use notebooks as their ONLY privat device these days and the number goes up since the "benefits" of a desktop (expandability, upgrades, better GPU, more drives) are not important to these users. What is important is that they can do not only Internet but also the tax program, write and print the needed letters and play the occasional game.

      And Android can not do all of this currently (Printer support is one example). So the tablet (if there is one) is an add on, not a replacement. And if there is a Windows fan in the family that shows how a 90€ SSD and a Windows update gets you a device that is available as fast as a tablet AND runs all the stuff you like - the tablet is a no purchase and the 2010+ notebook gets used some more years. Well most of the time, there where two tablets purchased in december 2013. Cousin got a S/P2 to replace an old Asus netbook that was too slow/lousy resolution and a friend got a R7-572 for doing graphics

  9. SVV

    This sort of thing should have become standard by now

    Certainly for decently specced laptops and all modern desktop PCs, you should get this sort of functionality out of the box as standard in an easy to use and manage way.

    So, on booting up you get a menu (easily custpmised in case you really never want to use anything other than Windows, which is becoming less and less likely as there are really great apps around on Android, even for free) and boot simply into Windows, Android, ChromeOS (not tried it so don't know what it's like), Linux, whatever. Make downloading / installing new OSes really easy and simple from this menu too.

    Having gone the virtualization route myself. it's still too slow and complex to manage for regular consumer use, so a multi-boot partitioned system seems the only viable solution right now.

    As so many people now also (or even mainly) use tablets, these Acer products look like the first step in the direction that people are starting to demand and I can see traditional single OS machines becoming a thing of the past, especially after the Windows 8 disaster.

    So PC makers, stop whining about declining sales, get to work and get these things on the shelves asap.

    1. mmeier

      Re: This sort of thing should have become standard by now

      "Experts" here complain about the Modern/Desktop switching in Win8. Now imagine the howling if they actually had to switch OS for different tasks....

      There are reasons for ARM (cheap, low power) but those are getting more and more irrelevant with Baytrail units coming out that offer better performance for most jobs at similar endurance. So for ARM there only is cheap.

      1. Philippe

        Re: This sort of thing should have become standard by now

        Apple prove with the A7 that some guy working in total isolation can come up with something which matches bay trail performancewise while using less power, I am pretty sure that thousands of ARM licensees can pretty much bury it.

        Don't get me wrong, Intel is doing a great job but it's one entity against the world.

        It will be a while before one can say: "ARM is just cheap"

        1. mmeier

          Re: This sort of thing should have become standard by now

          A7 equal/better than BT? In what kind of tests? Last time "ARM better than Atom" was announced it turned out to be an effekt of the JavaScript based benchmarks and the JS engines used.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Yeh but No but Yeh No

    Am I right in thinking 286, 386, 486, 586, ... type computers were/are really office based bits of equipment hoisted n foisted upon an unwary public seeking a bit more than their Amiga (or alternative computer barring Archimedes/BBC Micro ?) might do?

    Further enhanced by plug n play and associated insecurity issues?



    Could ARM and 'nix n Android do peripherals as well but this time from the home based oerspective ?

    If not, why not?

    (Answers by email please to your own email address)

    1. poseidon300

      Answer by web

      I am quite sure MSFT and Intel can continue to milk their corporate customers for some time. Just like IBM milk their mainframe customers into the sunset. Every year exponentially less revenue.

      Ballmer figured this and tried to do something about it. But of course the salesguy cannot do the intellectucal stuff necessary to transform the ship from Titanic into lots of small speedboats. Intel hasn't developed a proper answer at this point.

      And thats because all answers would require some sort of short-term slaughter of cashcows in favour of long-term existence. IBM could not pull this off, HP couldn't and neither will MS and Intel be capable of doing this.

      All Wintel technology is very powerful but also very power-hungry, but people want to carry a device as light as a soft-cover book and they want to work all day with it. Think of "nomadic computing" finnaly becomeing real.

      Win8 is a joke, as it is essentially Win7 grafted onto touch-screen metaphors. User experience is simply horrible. Too expensive, starting at 400 euros. Where is the little, light, long-running, great UX thingy ? Where is the wintel 120 Euros thing ? The recent MS ARM offering was just ridiculously expensive and an island of incompatibility sold as "windows".

  12. Mikel

    Nice tab for $150

    That is enough hardware for a decent Linux PC. I might have to get one just for that

  13. godanov

    I have a serious question, is ACER attempting to get bought by Google?

    Acer is a company in massive dificulty, so a sale would not be out of the question, and resonably priced.

    Acer has been able to see how being slurpt by the fruty loops inc has returned a nerly dead company, not to some kind of zombie after-death, but to relivance in the market.

    Google needs a manufactuer with retail opertunities, and it needs a division to manufacture its own hardware. It needs to begin transitioning to its own hardware for enployees.

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