COMPUTEX - Acer readies new notebooks for Q4 launch

Acer Inc. will introduce two new laptops before the end of this year, including an updated Tablet PC model and a widescreen notebook that is targeted at home users, according to a company executive.

Aimed at home users, the Aspire 2000 is based on Intel Corp.'s Centrino platform, which includes a Pentium M processor and a wireless LAN chipset, and offers a 15.4-inch (39.1-centimeter) widescreen TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display).

The Aspire 2000 offers two modes of operation. In normal PC mode, the computer runs Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system. However, users can use the Aspire 2000's instant-on mode, which is based on Linux, to access the laptop's entertainment functions, including DVD playback, said Campbell Kan, chief officer of Acer's notebook product line.

Activating the Linux mode lets users access the Aspire 2000's entertainment functions in approximately 10 seconds, eliminating the requirement for users to boot the PC using Windows XP, Kan said.

While users may get quicker access to DVD playback functions using the Aspire 2000's Linux mode, the notebook includes software, called ClearVision, which offers higher quality DVD playback in Windows XP, Kan said.

"If you are watching a DVD on a desktop PC or a notebook, you will see that the brightness, the contrast ratio, is not as good as a TV," Kan said. "ClearVision gives you a better contrast ratio and enhances the DVD, the video appearance in Windows."

While pricing for the Aspire 2000 has yet to be finalized, the notebook will be available worldwide during the fourth quarter for about US$2,000, Kan said.

Acer also plans to release an updated version of its Tablet PC during the fourth quarter.

Like other Tablet PCs from Acer, the TravelMate C300 is based on Centrino and offers a convertible design that can switch from a notebook to a tablet by rotating the TFT LCD screen and folding it back, flat against the keyboard.

The C300 has a 14.1-inch screen (36.5-centimeter), larger than the 10.4-inch (26.4-centimeter) screen offered by Acer's C100 and C110 Tablet PCs, which can also be converted from a notebook into a tablet. Acer's other existing Tablet PC model, the 250PE, also has a 14.1-inch screen but it can only be used in a notebook format and does not offer the ability to swivel its screen.

The C300 also offers an internal CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive, a feature that is not available with either the C100 or C110.

Pricing for the C300 has not been finalized, but should be about US$2,000, depending on the configuration, Kan said.

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Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service
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