Gateway Goes Big, Gets Thin

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Last year, Acer embarked on a multibrand strategy, an attempt to determine where its brands -- Gateway, Packard Bell, eMachine, in addition to Acer -- fit among customers. Over the course of the past year, the computer manufacturer conducted research, which ultimately led to the product revealed at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey earlier this week.

The company rolled out over 20 products across each of its brands, including brand-new Acer notebooks, netbooks and a nettop.

The products didn't end there, however, with the computer manufacturing taking advantage of its Gateway brand in the U.S. to broaden and diversify its product line even further.

Gateway expanded its netbook line, differentiating the LT series netbook by adding the LT30 and LT20. Both versions of the netbooks come with a built-in multigesture touch pad, Wi-Fi capabilities and optional Bluetooth and 3G connectivity. The netbooks can be further customized with the addition of a VGA Web cam.

Gateway, like the Acer brand, is also pushing the boundaries of what is considered a netbook. The first netbook in the LT series was a scant 8.9 inches wide. The newly released LT20 measures 10.1 inches, a size that has quickly been adopted as the top end of the netbook segment. But the LT30 is a step up from the LT20 at 11.6 inches. But even at the slightly bulkier size, the LT30 weighs about 2.62 pounds.

At the launch event, Acer said the 11.6-inch screen was designed in order to deliver "better video-streaming capabilities."

The latest play for Gateway in the more traditional notebook space has been dubbed the ID Series, and is being billed as the company's high-fashion entry into the market. Like the Dell Adamoand the Mac Book Air, Gateway and Acer are following the trend to put design-heavy notebooks on the market.

For the ID Series, Acer brought in Pininfarina, an Italian car designer, to create the look and feel of the notebook. Pininfarina worked for various car manufacturers and has had input on such models as Ferrari, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Volvo and Cadillac. The ID Series measures at 15.6 inches and is equipped with a HD LED-backlit TFT LCD with 16:9 aspect ratio.

Like the Acer Timeline series of notebooks, the Gateway EC series attempts to deliver all-day performance on a single battery charge. The notebook is designed with an ultra-low voltage Intel CPU to reduce the amount of power required for the machine. Rather than equip the notebook with a standard HDD, the company has opted to go for a solid state hard drive to increase its efficiency.

Like the ID Series, the EC notebooks are also built to be fashion-conscious. In this case, the company has opted to go for a silver-and-black motif with brushed aluminum palm rests. The notebook is less than an inch thick "- a theme Acer is taking to all of its product lines.

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