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Acer Lines Focus On Mobility, Efficiency

Acer unveiled at least 20 new computer models to the press earlier this month, spanning its Acer, Gateway and eMachines brands.

Included were new thin and light laptops, a broader range of netbooks, a new all-in-one model as well as the company’s first nettop.

Acer called the AspireRevo nettop — essentially a stripped-down desktop that packages the specs of a netbook into a compact design — the first form-factor PC to run on Nvidea’s Ion platform. The chipset bundles an Intel 230/330 Atom processor with Nvidea’s Ion graphics chip.

The AspireRevo, which can attach to the back of an LCD monitor or flat-panel HDTV, is being positioned as a home multimedia device. If offers high frame-rate DirectX 10 gaming driven by the 3-D capability of Windows Vista Premium as well as 1080p HD video playback. It incorporates 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and a gigabyte Ethernet connection.

A gaming bundle, including 3-D motion game controller will also be offered, Acer said.

The net-top is available with either a Serial ATA hard drive or a solid-state drive (SSD).

Pricing and availability were not announced.

SSDs, which are more energyefficient than common hard drives, also appear in new premium thin and light laptops that were also premiered.

Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci spoke of the declining production costs of SSDs and predicted much more widespread use of them in mobile computing devices in the coming years.

The SSDs, Lanci said, allow the new Acer Aspire Timeline laptops that incorporate them to hit 10 hours of battery life. New HDD Timeline models boast eight hours of life.

The Timelines offer profiles of just more than an inch and weigh in at 3.5 pounds for a 13.3-inch screen and top out at 5.3 pounds for a 15.6-inch screen. They use Intel’s Centrino 2 processor and come in 160/250/320/500GB or larger hard-disk-drive configurations or with an 80GB SSD drive.

The Timelines’ batteries boast lower voltage components which were arranged on the motherboard to offer 40 percent more battery life than typical laptops, said Jim Wong, head of Acer’s IT business group. The laptops also use Intel Core 2 Duo ultra-low-voltage chips and Intel’s display-power-saving technology support.

Incorporated into the Timelines models is a cooling technology, also developed with Intel, called a laminar wall jet, which adds louvers to inlet vents that transfer cooling airflow along the bottom of the notebook chassis. The net result is that the Timelines run up to 40 degrees cooler than standard notebooks, according to Wong.

Entry-level prices will start at $600 to $800, Lanci said.

Also on display was Acer’s new 24-inch Aspire Z5600 all-in-one touch-screen PC optimized for Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 7.

All of the Z5600’s hardware is in the rear of the LCD display, resulting in a very thin form factor. It incorporates a built-in Web cam, TV tuner and Blu-ray drive.

Acer said the PC will have “the latest generation of Intel processors and spacious HDD capacity of up to 2TB. The latest generation of MXM graphic processors ensures optimum multimedia performance.”

Further specs, as well as shipping and pricing details, will be announced at a future date.

Acer also:

  • extended its line of Aspire One netbooks, adding its largest model, with an 11.6-inch screen, that weighs about 36 ounces and is just less than 1-inch thick when closed;
  • added three new Aspire laptops at 18, 15 and 13 inches, respectively; and
  • announced Gateway-branded netbooks with similar specs to its Acer-brand models. Lanci explained that the Gateway models will follow a different marketing and channel road map.