Acer Unleashes New Notebooks, Netbook


Tuesday night at the Liberty Science Center in the shadow of Manhattan, Acer rolled out more than 20 new products across its Acer, Gateway, Packard Bell and e-Machines product lines.

Among the introductions were the Acer Timeline notebook series, boasting up to 8 hours of battery life on a single charge, and the Aspire One 11.6-inch notebook, with a form factor larger than any netbook on the market.

The design of the Acer Aspire Timeline series came from feedback Acer received from 1,200 customers it surveyed, said Gianfranco Lanci, CEO of Acer. The theme that emerged most regularly from the survey was the desire for more battery life and thinner notebooks.

"Customers want all-day battery life, which means 8 to 10 hours; they want the machines to be thinner; and they want to purchase them at a mainstream price," said Lanci.

Those three criteria were behind the creation of the Aspire Timeline notebook. In order towork for between 8 and 10 hours on a single charge without dimming the screen to near-invisibility to make it last longer, Acer built the Timeline series on Intel Core 2 Duo ultra-low voltage processors and Intel Display Power Saving Technology.

Making the machines thinner and lighter was also part of the strategy for the Timeline series. The notebooks come in three sizes: 13.3-, 14.1- and 15.6-inch models with LED 16:9 displays and multitouch touchpads. The Timeline notebooks on display at the Liberty Science Center certainly weren't that heavy—Acer claims that the 13.3-inch notebook weighs 3.5 pounds and that the 15.6-inch version tips the scales at 5.3 pounds.

The computer manufacturer also made an effort to reduce heat output created by the notebook with Laminar Wall Jet cooling, a technology that has previously been used for cooling turbine blades. The Timeline series adds louvers to the inlet vents and directs the cooling airflow along the underside of the chassis, meaning the computers stay cool in the places where customers touch them.

The cooling technology, when paired with a new AC adapter technology that stops pulling current from the wall when the battery on the laptop is charged, make the Timeline notebooks Energy Star 5.0-compliant.

The Timeline series of notebooks is about 1 inch thick. Acer also said that, in keeping with customer feedback, the new notebooks would be priced competitively on the market, starting at $699 and going up to $899, depending on the size of the model.

Another place where form factor is a key differentiator is in the netbook market. Typically, a netbook maxes out with a screen size of 10.1 inches. Last night, Acer upped the ante with the Acer Aspire One 11.6-inch netbook with a multigesture touchpad.

The decision was made to add a bigger screen to give users "better video streaming capabilities." Like the Timeline notebook, the Aspire One 11.6-inch netbook is just 1 inch thick and is powered by Intel Atom technology and Mobile Intel US15W Express Chipset.

The Aspire One comes with 160 GB of internal storage and 802.11b/g Wi-Fi integration. The device weighs about 2.2 pounds and will receive about 8 hours of battery life, based on its six-cell 5200 mAh battery.