Acer Focusing More on Android, Chrome OS Than Windows 8

While Asus is dropping Windows RT to focus on Windows 8, competing device maker Acer said it plans to offer more Chrome OS and Android-based devices than Microsoft-based products. Company president Jim Wang confirmed this roadmap on Thursday during a conference call with investors, stating that the company is trying to grow its non-Windows business as soon as possible.

"Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets," he said. "I also see a new market there for Chromebooks."

The news arrives after Acer reported a surprising net loss of $11.39 million in the April-June quarter, blaming increasing expenses on investments to strengthen the company’s industrial design capability and the declining gross margin due to DRAM’s price hike. The company's reported consolidated revenue was $2.97 billion, down 2.8 percent for the quarter or down 19.2 percent for the year. Its operating loss was $20.35 million.

Like its competitors, Acer has struggled to regain its footing in a consumer market, shifting over to cheaper, mobile products. Many of its latest product rollouts have consisted of AIO desktops, notebooks and tablets. It's also experimented with hybrid designs like the Aspire R7, which sports a unique hinge that transforms the device from tablet to an AIO to a laptop. The Iconia W3 is the industry's first 8 inch Windows 8-based tablet.

Wang told investors that during the second quarter, Chromebooks made up close to 3 percent of Acer's shipments. He didn't provide any Android specifics, but commented that Android and Chrome OS will likely contribute 10 percent to 12 percent of Acer's revenue by the end of the year -- a number that could increase to 30 percent in 2014. The remainder is expected to be generated by Microsoft-based products, he said.

"The Windows camp has to do something to reestablish or reinforce confidence among PC users," added Chairman J.T. Wang. "People are reluctant [to buy] and are holding [off] their purchasing decisions."

As for the PC industry, President Jim Wang said that he hasn't seen the light at the end of the tunnel. "First, we have to sustain our market share and protect our bottom line…and by doing tablets and smartphones right, we can be prepared for the day after tomorrow."

Despite the shift to mobile, compact and hybrid form factors, Acer hasn't abandoned the desktop market. Just recently the company unleashed the Windows 8-based Predator AG3-605 series, packing features like Creative's Sound Blaster Cinema, EAX, fourth-generation Intel Core "Haswell" processors, Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics, and more. The series spans five SKUs with prices ranging from $999.99 to $1,499.99, indicating that Acer is aware that a market for higher-end machines still exists.

As of June, Acer was indecisive about producing a tablet based on Windows RT. Chairman J.T. Wang said in an interview that the ARM-based version of Windows 8 was not "so influential anymore," and that the company needed to be realistic about mass producing such a device. The company's stance on Windows RT has been mixed for a while, but with the lackluster sales of Microsoft's Surface tablets, Acer's own blunder with the Iconia W3 tablet, and rising costs, the company may be leaning towards relying on Google's two platforms in the mobile market.

  • classzero
    Windows LOL
  • apache_lives
    Why is THG so Windows 8 negative? Its not a bad os at all

    This is just fudd
  • velocityg4
    The problem with the PC market is margins are so tight. With smartphones and tablets the margins are much better. That will change though eventually the margins on those will be just as tight.
  • digiex
    ^...because there are more "free" alternative with virtually the same user experience.
  • daglesj
    Dear Acer,

    Please can you get off your fat ass and start producing some decent quality and interesting products we might actually want to buy!

    Your products for some years now have been largely poor quality and totally uninspiring. It's time to find your mojo and make some kit we might actually want to buy. Quit blaming MS, just take a look at 90% of your product portfolio and ask yourself "Would I buy that?" Probably not.

    This also applies to Toshiba, Fujitsu and HP.

    Boring cheap nasty products! Windows 8 isn't the problem, the machines to run it on just don't cut it.
  • damianrobertjones
    "Acer Focusing More on Android, Chrome OS Than Windows 8" - and THEN adding,
    "At least in the mobile department" is pure flame bait. What about the hundreds of people that'll read the headling then venture off with their own impressions.

    Please, PLEASE, stop this type of trash reporting.
  • I agree with daglesj, these companies that were big in the PC and laptop market have failed to innovate since the smartphone and tablet era began. Other PC makers such as Samsung and Asus have managed to innovate and keep up with trends and often lead the trends
  • irish_adam
    11337853 said:
    Why is THG so Windows 8 negative? Its not a bad os at all

    This is just fudd

    I'm sorry but I have been using windows 8.1 since the preview and i have to say it sucks for what i use windows for. For example i tend to always have video playing be it TV or movies on one side of my creen and do my work on the other half. This is now impossible, as soon as i want to open a program i have to leave the desktop screen so i can no longer see the video which annoys me more than the fact that instead of a neat list of folders and subfolders its now just a mess which makes finding programs so much harder

    They have quite literally killed multi tasking, we now get the same bullshit multi tasking that tablets and phones get because they do not have the screen size to accommodate more than one thing per screen.

    Dont even get me started on how the hell you find the shutdown menu
  • gnodeb
    I see nothing bad with Win8. The problem is that it can be installed on old hardware so no reason to buy new one.
    Hardware manufacturers really let windows users down. The fact that SurfacePro is the most desirable win8 hybrid is sad... Asus Transformer Book and Sony 13 duo are great but they are crazy expensive (at least here... 1500euro is too much). Acer had some affordable slates but with 64/128GB SSD you can not replace...
    I ended up putting 256GB SSD into old laptop (3 year old Asus 13''/i5/4GB'). Got cheep win8 upgrade and it works great... I can not use it in tablet mode but I've saved so much money that I can buy not one but two tablets...
  • back_by_demand
    Several people have stated it and I think it is obvious that THG has anti-Microsoft bias to its rotten core, I try to pick the news out of the journalism where possible but it gets harder every day. Sometimes it is so blatant it makes me want to vomit, this site is way down on my list after Arstechnica, Anandtech, Engadget, hell even The Register is better.