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Acer to launch Android-based netbook in Q3

03 июня 2009

Acer Inc., the world's third-largest PC maker by revenue, said Tuesday it will launch a low-cost computer in the third quarter that runs on Google Inc.'s Android operating platform as it seeks to tap rapid demand growth for cheaper notebooks.

The move comes as Acer and its rivals try to diversify their offerings of so-called netbooks which are mini laptop computers that can perform basic computing functions.

A slew of PC makers including Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Acer have entered this market segment, hoping to tap new computer users in emerging markets. While margins are typically low, sales have been better than expected to due the global economic slowdown which has prompted price conscious consumers to look for bargains.

The Android operating system offers "incredibly fast wireless connection to the Internet," said Jim Wong, Acer's president of IT products, global operations, at the Computex trade show.

"For this reason, Acer has decided to develop Android netbooks for added convenience to our customers," Acer said in a statement.

Acer, which ranks No. 3 in
the global PC maker behind Dell and H-P, said it believes the Android operating system will contribute "significantly" to the worldwide netbook market growth.

Wong said however Acer won't abandon the Windows operating platform made by Microsoft Corp.

"We have to make sure the old choice (Windows) doesn't disappear," he told reporters.

Wong declined to provide a sales target for the Android-based notebook.

In late April, Acer President Gianfranco Lanci said the company expects to ship between 10 million and 12 million netbooks in 2009, and 32 million to 35 million notebooks including netbooks. Too Early To Call PC Industry Recovery

Acer's Wong and executives at Taiwanese motherboard and computer maker Asustek Computer Inc. were reluctant to call a bottom for the PC industry, signaling that the global economic slowdown has impacted demand for technology products.

Wong said demand for personal computers is improving slightly in the second quarter compared with the first quarter, but noted it is too early to say that the industry has hit bottom.

"I don't know if (the first quarter) is the bottom...it's hard to tell," Wong told reporters.

The executive's comments echo similar remarks from rival Dell of the U.S. Brian Gladden, Dell's chief financial officer, said recently the company has yet to see "a bottom" to the prolonged slump in technology spending.

Still, in a sign that market conditions may be improving, Jonathan Tsang, vice chairman of Asustek, which makes computer motherboards, said its second-quarter profit margins are improving from the first quarter and PC component shortages are easing.

Asustek's first-quarter gross margin shrank to 9.1% from 21.5% a year earlier.

Asustek Chief Executive Jerry Shen had said late April that component shortages were raising production costs and squeezing margins in the second quarter.

When asked whether the company may see strong second-half demand this year as the technology industry typically experiences, Asustek chairman Jonney Shih said:"it's the hardest question. I can't say."


Источник: Financial Times

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