Acer has shied away from venting its frustrations with Windows 8. The company is taking things a step further by vowing to sell more Android devices and Chromebooks.
"We are trying to grow our non-Windows business as soon as possible," Acer president Jim Wong said in a Thursday conference call, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. "Android is very popular in smartphones and dominant in tablets...I also see a new market there for Chromebooks."
Wong expects Android and Chromebooks to bring in 10 to 12 percent of the company's revenue this year; that figure could rise to 30 percent next year, he added. Although Wong didn't talk about revenue splits for last quarter, he did say that Chromebooks accounted for 3 percent of Acer's shipments. During the second quarter, Acer posted a net loss $11.4 million, compared to a profit of about $1.9 million a year earlier.
Acer chairman J.T. Wang said Microsoft needs to somehow "reestablish or reinforce confidence among PC users," saying people are holding off on purchase decisions. (For what it's worth, Windows 8.1 is much friendlier to desktop users, and new chips from Intel will help make Windows tablets and hybrids more practical.)
Despite Acer's tough talk, the company hasn't shied away from experimenting with Windows machines. Acer's Iconia W510 and W700 were part of the first wave of Windows 8 hybrid devices, combining tablets with laptop and desktop-style docks. The Iconia W3 is the first 8-inch Windows tablet, while the Acer Aspire R7 is somewhat of a cross between a laptop and a desktop.
At the same time, Acer is keeping busy with alternatives. The company launched a $200 Chromebook last year, and has since expanded the line to include a solid state drive option and a $300 model with beefier specs. In addition, Acer has begun to dabble in Android-based desktop PCs.
Acer's not alone in diversifying beyond Windows for laptops. Taiwanese rival Asus is working on its own Chromebook for later this year, and HP just launched a new hybrid called the Slatebook X2, running Android. Expect this trend to continue if PC sales keep slowing down.