Acer debuts Liquid Android smartphone, new netbook

Acer Liquid will run Android version 1.6, formerly codenamed Donut

Acer, the world's third largest PC vendor, on Wednesday announced two of its most highly anticipated products with Google's Android mobile operating system on board, the Liquid smartphone and an Aspire One netbook.

Acer Liquid is a touchscreen smartphone running Android version 1.6, formerly codenamed Donut and the latest upgrade to the software. Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset inside the smartphone provides processing power and other capabilities.

The smartphone also includes a camera that tags photos with location information from the built-in GPS receiver, so people know where and when they snapped a shot. Songs and videos can be played on the handheld. Liquid is designed for Internet browsing, and allows high speed Web access through HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) mobile networks.

The smartphone will use a new user interface, Acer said in a statement. Few other specific details were immediately available about Liquid.

Acer chose Android over other varieties of Linux because it has the best connectivity of any Linux OS built-in, said Jim Wong, president of global product operations at Acer during a news conference in London that was broadcast over the Internet.

Acer also offered a further glimpse at its Aspire One with Android netbook.

The device will run both Android and Microsoft Windows, and users will be able to switch between the two simply by clicking to switch OS, Acer said.

Android will give people access to the Web on start up, with just an 18 second boot-up time. The OS shuts down in 3 seconds, Acer said.

Other details about the new netbook, including when the device might go on sale and how much it would cost, were not immediately available from Acer. But the device showed up for pre-order on Amazon.com, where a full listing of its specifications was displayed.

The netbook is listed at $US349.99, comparable to other Aspire One's with similar components. The Aspire One with Android has a 10.1-inch screen, an Intel Atom N280 microprocessor, 1GB of DDR2 (double data rate, second generation) DRAM and a 160GB hard-disk drive, as well as a 6-cell battery for long-lasting power. It can be booted in either Android or Windows XP Home, according to the sales data on Amazon.com.

Acer executives said the main reason the company decided to make the Aspire One with Android a dual-boot netbook was so people can use Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser. Many Web sites say they are optimized for IE, said Wong.

The company has not yet started planning for new product development using Android next year. "We will continue to monitor Android development," Wong said.

IE held a 65.7 percent share of the Web browser market as of September, according to Net Applications, which tracks the statistics. Firefox was second with a 23.8 percent market share and Apple's Safari was third at 4.2 percent, followed by Google's Chrome at 3.2 percent.

A survey by SurveyWare on Net Applications' Web browser market share page, however, reported that 63.1 percent of respondents said Firefox was the best browser, followed by the Opera browser at 13.5 percent, IE at 12.1 percent and Safari at 11.3 percent.

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