Acer dresses up new notebooks

Taipei: In an announcement on Monday that was heavy on style but light on technical details, Taiwan's Acer introduced the latest additions to its notebook computer lines, the Aspire 1800 and TravelMate 3200.

Acer's latest notebooks are dressed in more stylish cases than the company's existing notebook models. The Aspire 1800 and TravelMate 3200 offer rounded outside edges and a sleek metallic-looking exterior. The design could find its way into future notebooks from the company if users respond well, said Campbell Kan, chief officer of Acer's notebook product line.

"We're looking for feedback from users," Kan said.

The Aspire 1800, which is aimed at home users, offers a 17-inch TFT-LCD (thin film transistor liquid crystal display) screen and includes a remote control that fits into the notebook's PCMCIA card slot when not in use. The smaller TravelMate 3200 is designed for home office and business users; its thin and light design is intended to be easily portable.

On the inside, both notebooks have a shortcut key that is used to launch Acer's system software utility, including power management functions, display settings, security and boot options.

The Aspire 1800 and TravelMate 3200 are expected to be available worldwide during the third quarter. Acer did not provide pricing or further details on the hardware configurations or specifications for the two notebooks, saying detailed specifications would be made available at the Computex 2004 exhibition, which begins tomorrow in Taipei.

The introduction of the Aspire 1800 and TravelMate 3200 follows the introduction last Friday of Acer's Ferrari 3200 notebook, an updated version of Acer's Ferrari 3000 notebook introduced in October 2003.

Coated in the bright red that is the hallmark of the Formula One Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro racing team, the Ferrari 3200 notebook is based on an Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Athlon 64 processor, 512M bytes of DDR (double data rate) memory, an 80G-byte hard disk, DVD drive, an ATI Technologies Inc. Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics chip with 128M bytes of memory, integrated 802.11g and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 15-inch TFT-LCD monitor.

Pricing and availability of the Ferrari 3200 notebook was not disclosed.

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