Acer finally outs Android + XP netbook

Exclusive hands on pictures

ALTHOUGH ACER SHOWED off what was expected to be the first netbook running Android as early as last year’s Computex, it’s taken until now for the company to actually get product to the market. Acer launched its new Aspire One earlier today at a consumer retail show in Taipei, Taiwan which goes under the name of D255.

The hardware specifications of the D255 is anything but impressive, as it has a single core Atom N450 processor which is clocked at 1.66GHz, 1GB of DDR2 memory, a 160GB hard drive, a typical 10.1-inch netbook screen with 1024×600 resolution, a webcam,  802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0. The D255 weighs in at 1.03kg with the standard 3-cell battery which is meant to last up to 4h.

At least the design is rather attractive for what it’s worth and the D255 will be available in both blue and black. The wrist rest is also colour coded, so on the blue version you also get a blue wrist rest. The D255 has Acer’s typical keyboard design which isn’t quite a chiclet design, but something similar. The touch pad is a bit on the small side and has a single large button.

We only had the chance to play with it for a couple of minutes and although Android boots up very quickly, in a matter of 5 seconds or so once you’re past the BIOS screen, it feels out of place on a large device like this. You have to use the touch pad to navigate the OS, as the D255 doesn’t have a touch screen. It’s hard to judge how fast Android was working on the D255, as there weren’t much in terms of installed apps. Acer seems to be supplying a stock version of Android on the D255 with the only difference compared to smartphones version of the OS being that the menu comes in from the right rather than from the bottom of the screen.

It’s unclear if the D255 will work with the Android market or not, but at least on the model we saw, the market app wasn’t installed. In Taiwan the D255 is on sale for NT$11,900 which is about $373 which isn’t super cheap for a netbook, although it’s quite competitive in the local market. In comparison Acer’s own D260 which comes only comes with Windows XP Home and otherwise appears to have identical features to the D255 – albeit a slightly different design and different colour options – is priced at NT$12,800 or $401 which makes the D255 a pretty decent deal at the end of the day.

We’d like to apologize for the poor pictures, but the model on display was covered in shrink wrap to protect it from “the elements”.S|A

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