Acer to offer 17-inch Smart Display with PCs

Acer plans to begin selling two portable Smart Display products, including a 17-inch version, as accessories for the next generation of the company's Aspire home PC line, expected to be introduced before the middle of next year, a company executive said.

Smart Display, formally known by the code name Mira, is a technology developed by Microsoft allowing users to access a PC over a wireless connection using a portable display. While Smart Display products have been available since early this year, sales have been relatively light and PC vendors have shied away from offering Smart Displays due to perceived limitations in the first version of the technology's software.

Acer will support Smart Display with its upcoming Aspire 4 home PC product line, set to begin shipping during the first half of next year, said James Chen, head of the company's desktop PC products line, in an interview on the sidelines of the Computex exhibition in Taipei last week.

The company decided to get into the market for Smart Displays following improvements that Microsoft has made to the technology, Chen said.

"Eighteen months ago, Windows did not support dual users. Today, Windows XP Professional second edition can support two users," Chen said. "This really helps Mira because if there's only (support for) one user, why do I need another monitor?"

In addition, Smart Display will next year support video streaming from a PC to remote monitors, Chen said, noting the feature should be available during the second quarter.

Acer plans to offer two Smart Display models, a 12-inch model and a 17-inch model, that connect to an Aspire 4 PC over an 802.11a or 802.11g connection, Chen said. While pricing has not yet been determined, the smaller displays could be available for around US$400 or $500, he said.

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Sumner Lemon

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