Acer launches £199 subnotebook

Acer launches £199 subnotebook

Summary: The world's second-largest laptop manufacturer enters the same market as Asus's Eee, with its own Linux-based subnotebook

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TOPICS: Hardware
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  • On Tuesday, Acer launched its first entry into the low-cost subnotebook genre: the Aspire One.

    The 'mobile internet device' (MID), which Acer is trying very hard to categorise away from its higher-end laptops, is one of the first machines to be based on Intel's low-power Atom processor. It has a "95 percent"-sized keyboard and an 8.9-inch screen.

    Acer hopes to sell seven million of the devices this year alone, although the company's vice president of marketing and brand, Gianpiero Morbello, said at the launch that it could produce even more units "if Intel gives [Acer] more processors".

    Morbello said that, for Acer, the Aspire One was "not an entry-level notebook", but should in fact be classified along with Acer's nascent handset business — the company bought the phone manufacturer Eten earlier this year for its expertise, and is planning a big push in the handheld market.

    Acer is currently the second-largest notebook producer in the world, behind HP.

  • The Acer Aspire One will come in five or six different configurations. The baseline model will use the Linpus distribution of Linux, and will cost around £199. This version will use an 8GB solid-state drive (SSD) and 512MB of RAM.

    More expensive models will have more RAM and either 3G or WiMax connectivity, depending on the region in which they are being sold. All versions have Wi-Fi. The most expensive model will be the Windows XP version, which will have an 80GB hard hard drive (HDD) and will cost £299. Because of the use of an HDD rather than an SSD, the XP version will also be heavier than the more basic Linux version, which weighs in at less than 1kg.

    Acer is being very bullish on Linux, which it likes for its configurability. Morbello said the company had "made a big investment in Linux", and praised the fast start-up time of the Linux Aspire One (15 seconds). He said that, with the larger six-cell battery (a three-cell comes as standard), the Linux version would last up to seven hours and the XP version just five, and joked: "To be honest we would prefer not to sell the XP version."

    The Linpus distro has a very simple presentation, and includes a unified mailbox and a unified instant messaging (IM) client — both of which aggregate various popular mail and IM brands. The mailbox also ties into (IM) client, showing whether a sender is online and linking through to IM where possible. A version of the Firefox browser is also included, complete with preinstalled media player plugins. OpenOffice comes as standard.

  • The Acer Aspire One has two flash drive slots, one on either side. One, an SD card reader, is intended as storage expansion for the system which can be used to boost the 8GB built-in flash storage. The second slot is a five-in-one card reader that accepts SD, MMC, RS-MMC, Memory Stick and xD cards that the system will recognise as part of the hard drive.

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Topic: Hardware

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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9 comments
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  • Acer 0ne

    According to another computer mag Acer is #3 behind Dell and HP. That said, I think this computer could bring Acer up to #2 if they keep the price down.
    dwr50
  • teeter, teeter

    Yes, on the brink.

    With up to 7 hours use (with the upgraded battery) this is the first serious contender for my credit card.
    Tezzer-5cae2
  • Acer's position

    Ah, it's the number 3 computer manufacturer but the number 2 laptop manufacturer, a position it reached in the first quarter of this year. At least, that's what they told us hacks in a very long presentation about the company this morning, when we really just wanted to see the darn machine...
    David Meyer
  • USB Ports

    Notwithstanding that the Aspire One is small, light, convenient and attractive, I do hope that the USB ports are sturdy enough to last the life of the computer; and that they have not been sacrificed in the efforts to keep weight down.

    I say this because, apart possibly from processor fans and hard drives, this is the most common hardware defect that I meet in laptops from normally considerate users.

    In my own case I have two laptops (one Dell, one HP), otherwise useful and sufficent for purpose, whose USB ports have become too slack to be effective. Hence I have to use a cardbus USB device to compensate, but these do not have enough power for an external 2.5 hard drive.
    The Former Moley
  • Linux making inroads?

    This is good for 2 reasons:
    1 - Computers are getting cheaper at the time when the price of everything else is going up.
    2 - Another major computer maker pushing Linux, perhaps this will force Microsoft to cut their prices on future operating systems!
    harpless
  • Linux inroads

    If you use Linux... Who Cares , what Microsoft charges, or Apple, for that matter.

    Acer Aspire 5315-2153, $348 Walmart Special,Mandriva Linux 2008.1 Spring Edition. The fist Linux distro where everything worked, on this laptop, the first time !
    dwr50
  • Linux making inroads

    Not only force M$ to cut prices , but maybe, just maybe, it will force them to cut the bloat, improve security, and give the consumer what they want instead of telling them what they want.
    ator1940
  • Where's The Spec?

    Nice to know but pointless without a link to the spec.

    Brian
    brian.catt@...
  • literally comes in handy

    must be good for basic usage..more like the Eee notebooks?
    sarai2309