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Acer plans to start selling the latest version of its Aspire One netbook in mid-February, the manufacturer announced on Friday.
The first version of the Aspire One, which had an 8.9-inch screen, was launched in June of last year and helped make Acer the top PC-seller in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The new version has a 10.1-inch WSVGA screen with a resolution of 1,024x600 pixels.
Screen size is not the only difference between the new Aspire One and its smaller relative. Acer does not provide the option of buying one with a solid-state drive (SSD), or with Linux loaded. In contrast, the previous 8.9-inch version can be bought with the Linpus distribution, rather than Windows XP.
The new version of the low-cost subnotebook also does away with the second SD-card slot that was found in the previous model. This slot was designed to hold a high-capacity SD card as a more-or-less permanent storage augmentation to the SSD, which provided a maximum of 16GB. The Linux operating system automatically added the storage capacity of the card held in that slot to the capacity of the SSD, so the omission of the slot in a netbook with neither Linux nor SSD is unsurprising. In addition, the 10-inch Aspire One comes with a 160GB hard disk drive (HDD).
The processor used in the 10-inch Aspire One is Intel's 1.6GHz N270 Atom processor. Bluetooth and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi are provided, as is optional 3G connectivity, although the latter will cost extra.
The built-in webcam has a resolution of 0.3 megapixels, and there is also a built-in digital microphone. The machine can take up to 2GB of RAM.
There are two options for the battery pack. The basic specification includes a three-cell battery, giving a battery life of three hours; the six-cell option should provide up to seven hours of use. Choosing the six-cell battery will, of course, increase the weight of the netbook to 1.33kg, up from the 1.18kg of the three-cell-equipped version.
The 10-inch Aspire One, which comes in white, blue, red or black, will go on sale in mid-February at a price of £299, including VAT. According to an Acer spokesperson, the 3G-capable version will go on sale a month later, at an as-yet-unspecified price. The spokesperson added that the 3G module would not be tied to a particular operator, and would work with any data-enabled SIM card.