Acer is to sell netbooks running Google’s Android operating system – with the first likely to be available before the end of the summer.
The move is a setback for Microsoft, which was already selling its Windows OS at a reduced price to counter the threat posed by Linux.
Making the announcement at the Computex PC trade show in Taipei, Jim Wong, Acer’s global president for IT products, said the current netbook offerings were "not close to perfection at all".
He said if mobile Internet devices were not continually changed, consumers might not choose then any more.
Acer recently announced that it is to launch smartphones with the Android platform later this year.
Wong stressed that Acer will continue to use the Windows OS in its other netbooks.
However, the cost of the Android-based devices should be less than Windows equivalents since the Linux-based Android system is free.
Microsoft charges USD $15 for each copy of Windows XP.
The Android netbooks will still use Intel Atom processors.
Acer, ASUS and other netbook makers had choosen to use Linux before but had experienced high return rates for those Linux models.
Users complained about difficulties using the OS.
Android has promised to simplify the experience without limiting support for 3G or other extras.