The Acer Aspire One D250 is a netbook running the Google Android operating system. But it's very much a supplement to Windows rather than as an environment you could live and work in.

Google Android pre-installed on an Acer Aspire One D250, Acer's entry-level 10in netbook. We saw two samples of this Androided D250, the first with Windows XP; the second supplied with Windows 7 Starter, in Italian.

From new, the Acer Aspire One D250 sets up Windows first, from where you need to turn to a basic Android configuration program. With this you can set the netbook to automatically boot into Android.

See also: Acer Aspire One netbook gets Windows 7

Once rebooted into Android, you'll see a home screen identical to that on early Google Android mobile phones such as the T-Mobile G1, stretched out to fill the whole 1024x600 screen. Wi-Fi wireless can be configured from a side drawer that includes the necessary Network Manager.

This showed our available networks, and after typing in a password, we were online. From the apps drawer you could also try Browser, but this won't take you very far as there's nowhere to type in web URLs.

A shortcut on the Acer Aspire One D250's desktop, meanwhile, starts up a Mozilla Firefox browser variant called Minefield, which does work with the keyboard and mouse.

Webmail, Google Talk and Calendar shortcuts are also offered on the desktop, but a Google account is practically a prerequisite to use any of these services. And to input your Google account details into Android, you'll need to go back into Windows first.

In contrast to Android smartphones that can install more apps through Google's Marketplace download shop, this installation is locked down. You do get a music player, photo viewer, address book and calculator - but that's about it.

Acer describes the Acer Aspire One D250 as Instant On, an answer to the traditional holdup associated with getting Windows started. We saw the D250 ready for Android action in 17 seconds - faster than Windows but still a long way from 'instant'.

The sample we tested had only a 3-cell battery. Expect the Acer Aspire One D250 to be sold in the UK with a 6-cell battery. And an English operating system.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Acer Aspire One D250: Specs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • 533MHz FSB
  • 512kB L2 cache
  • Google Android 1.1 and Microsoft Windows 7 Starter
  • 10.1in (1024x600) 16:9 LCD display
  • 250GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 1GB DDR2-667 RAM
  • Intel GMA 950 graphics
  • VGA
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • multi card slot
  • mic in, headphone out
  • ethernet 100Mb/s
  • 802.11b/g
  • stereo speakers
  • webcam
  • built-in mic
  • 23Whr 3-cell Li-ion battery
  • 259x184x25mm
  • 1081g
  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • 533MHz FSB
  • 512kB L2 cache
  • Google Android 1.1 and Microsoft Windows 7 Starter
  • 10.1in (1024x600) 16:9 LCD display
  • 250GB 2.5in SATA HDD
  • 1GB DDR2-667 RAM
  • Intel GMA 950 graphics
  • VGA
  • 3 x USB 2.0
  • multi card slot
  • mic in, headphone out
  • ethernet 100Mb/s
  • 802.11b/g
  • stereo speakers
  • webcam
  • built-in mic
  • 23Whr 3-cell Li-ion battery
  • 259x184x25mm
  • 1081g

OUR VERDICT

This new version of the Acer Aspire One D250 with Windows 7 and Android is around £280 – or you can find the first Windows XP version for £199. Put kindly, we’d say that Acer's Android-on-a-netbook project is work in progress right now, with so little actually possible on the Google Linux side. If you need to get things done, you’re still going to have to work in Windows.

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