Acer Aims for Dell; Unwraps Win/Android Netbook
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Acer today introduced new laptops as well as its new Liquid smartphone. It's all part of a push for new Google Android products but also a part of Acer's Windows 7 strategy as well. The company has achieved its position as the number three hardware provider through growth and mergers and now is gunning for the number two spot currently held by Dell.
As part of Acer's international press conference in London, CEO Gianfraco Lanci said it was the firm's goal to be the number one supplier of laptops by 2012 and number two PC provider overall behind HP (NYSE: HPQ).
"Between this quarter and the next, we can finally pass Dell," Lanci said during the conference. "I would expect not only to pass Dell very soon, but also to breach the gap with HP."
Acer has closed to gap to within one percentage point behind Dell (NASDAQ: DELL). But the numbers don't reflect the complexity of the situations. Acer made a strong push into netbooks, Dell has not. Acer is 100 percent a consumer play, while Dell is largely a corporate play. During the economic downturn of the past year, corporate spending has been much tighter than consumer spending, which is why Dell has been hurting while Acer has been growing.
Lanci is counting on a big PC refresh in 2010, spurred on by an improving economy, aging hardware in need of replacement, and a new version of Windows that doesn't make people want to throw their laptop across the room.
IDC is expecting a refresh in 2010 as well, but figures that will help Dell, too. "We're projecting a commercial market refresh next year, which will play into Dell's favor," said IDC's PC analyst Richard Shim. "On the consumer side, that's been the engine of growth for the last few years, which has been to Acer's advantage. But at some point that number has to slow down. So it'll be a challenge to maintain it."
Dell has held on to the number two spot "with one arm tied behind their back, because the commercial market is so much of their business. The commercial rebound will help Dell. Acer doesn't have the commercial chops Dell has," said Shim.
Acer's Windows 7, multi-touch notebook
There has been a parade of PC vendors offering new hardware in advance of the October 22 launch of Windows 7. Now it's Acer's turn. It announced the Acer Aspire 5738PG, its first notebook with multi-touch screen capabilities, taking full advantage of the multi-touch support native to Windows 7.
It features a 15.6 inch diagonal widescreen display, a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, up to 4GB of memory, discrete graphics by ATI, wireless networking, home theater audio and 320GB of storage. The Acer Aspire 5738PG multi-touch screen notebook launches with Windows 7 Home Premium and will be available starting October 22 at select retailers starting at $799.
The notebook has a multi-touch screen as well as a multi-gesture touchpad so users can manipulate their applications and media with natural gestures like drag, pinch to expand or collapse, flick and swirl.
In addition, Acer announced a new Aspire Timeline series notebook. The Timelines are called "all-day computing notebooks" because of their very long battery life. This model, with a 11.6-inch screen and Intel consumer ultra-low voltage (CULV) processor, is promised to offer eight hours of battery life.
The Timeline AS1810TZ will come out October 22, preloaded with Windows 7 for a starting price of $549.99. A bigger version, with a 15.6 inch screen, starts at $649.99.
Aspire One, dual-boot Windows XP/Android available now
Finally, Acer on Wednesday will introduce a new Aspire One netbook that dual boots both Android and Windows XP. It supports Windows 7 internationally but not in the U.S. market. The company explained to InternetNews.com that configurations change in different regions.
The Aspire One AOD250 netbook is a 10.1 inch device with Android and Windows XP Home for $349.99. Users can switch between Android and Windows XP Home with just a click of a mouse. It offers fast boot up and shut down times as well as "instant on" Internet connectivity.
The Aspire One AOD250 comes with an Intel Atom N280 processor, 1GB of memory, wireless networking and a 160GB hard drive. It also has the Multi-Gesture Touchpad like the Windows 7 notebooks. Unlike the Windows 7 machines, it's available now.