BERLIN -- Android already rules the world of smartphones, and now the little green robot is coming for your PC. Unveiled at technology trade show IFA this week, the Acer DA241HL is a 24-inch all-in-one desktop PC that runs on Android software.
It's a computer and monitor in one, the display tilting to any angle between 20 and 75 degrees so you can see the screen wherever you choose to sit. The screen is Full HD 1080p -- perfectly good for a 24-inch TV, but not up to scratch for a proper monitor. We don't think that'll be a real problem for playing Android games and watching Internet videos, both of which were handled with aplomb in our hands-on time.
Android in a PC
What's unusual about the DA241HL is it runs Android software. Android is Google's software for mobile phones and tablets, and the DA241HL is one of the first PCs to pack Android. Specifically, it's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which is almost the latest update to Android.
Like an Android phone, the PC is based on home screens that you fill with shortcuts to apps and widgets that tell you useful information without having to open each app. Acer claims the 700,000 apps found in the Google Play app store will work on the new desktop PC, but there's no guarantee they'll look good. After all, apps are designed for the small screens of phones, not for the 24-inch screen of a PC.
In our brief hands-on time with the DA241HL, we found that the preinstalled apps all looked fine. Using a mobile browser on a huge screen is rather odd -- the headlines are all massive because sites expect a 1080p Android screen to be 10 inches or less, not 24. That common 1,980x1,080-pixel resolution should help increase the number of compatible games, however.
Tegra 3 in a PC
The software isn't the only thing that's usually found in a mobile device: inside the DA241HL is an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor, which is more often found inside tablets. Swiping around menus and opening apps all seemed pretty snappy, but we'll have to run it through our usual battery of tests to be sure it's up to snuff.
If you're not keen on the Android experience on a bigger screen, or you want to use an app that you can't get on Android, you can use the DA241HL as a monitor by connecting it to a PC with Windows 8 via HDMI or USB cable. The touch screen still works when you're plugged into another PC.
If you have an Android phone, you can sync content between phone and PC, and connect the two via MHL to watch films, TV and games on the bigger screen.
Set up the DA241HL in your living room and the whole family can share it, with up to five user profiles keeping everyone's settings and stuff separate, ensuring the kids won't accidentally delete something important of yours.
The DA241HL goes on sale in October starting from €429 (around $570 US or £370). For loads more from here at IFA, check out our show page now.