Acer Introduces iPhone-like Netbook Touchpad


The computer maker has updated its range of netbooks including one model with a full-size keyboard and a multigesture touchpad similar to the iPhone’s interface

The Acer AO751h, the first 11.6-inch netbook, also comes with a full-size keyboard. Acer says the netbook’s high-definition LED-backlit widescreen (16:9 ratio) display is large enough to view multiple windows and reduces the need to scroll to view Internet sites.

Acer suggests a retail price in the US of $349.99, (£226) though an expanded six-cell battery version starts at $379.99. UK pricing and availability were not available at time of writing.

The 10.1-inch AOD250, which comes with a choice of four casing colors, carries a suggested retail price of $298. It is powered by an Intel Atom N270 processor running Microsoft Windows XP Home edition. Additional specs include a 160GB hard drive, an Acer Crystal Eye Web camera and three USB 2.0 ports.

The AO751h offers a six-cell battery, a Multi-in-1 digital media card reader and dedicated SD card and is powered by an Intel Atom Z520 processor. Select models will feature up to 2GB of DDR2 memory and up to a 250GB internal hard drive. Both models weigh less than three pounds (2.75 pounds for the AO751h and 2.44 pounds for the AO250).

Acer also included a multigesture touchpad on the AO75ih that allows users to pinch, flick and swirl their fingers across the touchpad – in a similar way to the iPhone’s touch-screen – for more natural photo and video viewing, as well as intuitive navigation of Websites such as Google Earth. The touchpad also allows users to scroll, zoom in and out and flip through Web pages, photos, spreadsheets and more. To increase typing comfort, Acer included a soft-touch palm rest on both models.

The company says the extended 6-cell battery for the AO751h can provide uptime of up to eight hours, while the 3-cell battery can provide four hours of uptime. The AO250’s standard 3-cell battery can provide up to three hours and 15 minutes of battery life, while the 6-cell battery can provide up to six hours.

Acer’s vice president of product management for Acer America Sumit Agnihotry says they predict the larger display and keyboard will be a game-changer for mobile consumers looking for the ultimate mobile device. The release also notes select Acer Aspire One models come with the option for 3G broadband wireless connectivity.

“These two new Acer Aspire One offerings will satisfy the needs of today’s extremely diverse mobile users – from professionals who need a streamlined, highly mobile form factor to students who want a productivity-enhancing large keyboard and display,” Agnihotry says in a prepared statement. “In all cases, Aspire One customers get a reliable, easy-to-use, stylish device that will let them remain connected.”

Nearly 6 million netbooks were shipped in the first quarter of 2009, raising their standing within the notebook PC market to almost 20 percent, according to market forecaster DisplaySearch. Acer, with 1.8 million units sold, topped the netbook market, shipping more netbooks than HP, Dell, Toshiba and Lenovo.

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