Acer's Lanci: We're Testing Android On Smartphones

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In Acer's first quarter investor's meeting Wednesday in Taiwan, Acer President and CEO Gianfranco Lanci said the company is working on an Android-based smartphone, but noted that it's too early to tell if the company will decide to build an Android netbook.

"The entire industry is looking at Android," Lanci told investors at the event.

Lanci also raised the possibility of an Android smartphone at a media event in New Jersey earlier this month in which Acer showed off its new line of consumer and business focused PCs. In February, Acer unveiled four new smartphones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, all of which are based on Windows Mobile 6.1 and aimed at consumers and business audiences.

Lanci's comments take some of the steam out of recent rumors that Google's Linux-based Android operating system could pose a threat to the dominance of Windows XP on netbooks. Hewlett-Packard last month said it's considering using Google's Android operating system in its netbooks, but hasn't offered specifics.

Microsoft recently cited NPD Retail Tracking Service data that shows Windows netbooks have gone from less than 10 percent of unit sales in the first half of 2008 to 96 percent in February.

Acer's wild success in netbook sales has enabled it to creep closer to HP and Dell in terms of worldwide market share, but sales in the first quarter dipped to the point where the company felt compelled drop its netbook shipment forecasts for the year. Acer previously said it would ship 12 million to 15 million units in 2009, but has dropped that estimate to between 10 million and 12 million.

Google earlier this week released an updated Android 1.5 Software Developers Kit, which lets developers write applications for the long-awaited Android 1.5 system, code named 'Cupcake,' which is expected to arrive on handsets in May. The Android 1.5 system will be deployable to Android-powered handsets beginning in May.

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