Acer Timeline owners can't seem to catch a break. Back in October 2009, Acer recalled a whole bunch of its 13-inch models citing an overheating hazard, and once again, the exact same problem has forced Acer to issue another recall, this time for about 22,000 Timelines.
According ot the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the problem stems from an internal microphone wire under the palm rest. Just like the last recall, the pesky wire is prone to short circuiting, overheating, and poses a potential burn hazard. There have been no reports of injuries thus far, but three reports of computers short circuiting, each of which resulted in "slight melting" of the notebook chassis.
Models affected include the Acer AS3410, AS3410T, AS3810T, AS3810TG, AS3810TZ, and AS3810TZG. The CPSC says that not all of these models suffer from the cable flaw, and that if you own one, you should contact Acer for more info.
As netbooks go, this new Aspire One isn’t all that different from its predecessors, save for it sporting an Intel Atom N450 CPU, GMA 1350 graphics, and a promised 10-hours of battery life. The N450 has a speed of 1.66 GHz, with a 512 KB L2 cache, and a 667 MHz front-side bus. The integrated GMA 3150 will power a 10.1-inch WSVGA “CrystalBrite” backlit LED display, which Acer says uses 22.2 percent less power than a regular LCD.
Rounding out the features are the usual: 1Gb of DDR2 667 MHz memory (no word on expandability), a 160 GB SATA hard drive running at 5400 RPM, a digital media card reader, three USB 2.0 ports, 802.11b/g/draft-n WiFi, 10/100 fast ethernet, a webcam, and stereo speakers. Mobile power is from a 6-cell Li-ion (4400 mAh) battery. Windows 7 Starter is the operating system of choice.
The 2.76 pound, 1-inch thick netbook will be available in Onyx Blue, Garnet Red, and Silver Matrix.
Hoping to build on the increasing popularity of ultra-thin laptops in the home consumer sector, notebook vendors have started targeting businesses, sources from notebook players say.
The reason? Ultra-thins are better suited for businesses. Whereas home users put more demands on multimedia playback and gaming support, the real advantages to owning an ultra-thin are longer battery life and portability, both of which happen to be very important to the average business user.
And it's not just Lenovo and Dell that are taking notice. Sources say Acer, Asus, and MSI all are looking to transition from home to work. As a result, global ultra-thin notebook shipments are expected to increase from around six million units and 3.7 percent of the total global notebook shipments in 2009, to 24 million units and 12 percent of shipments in 2010.
According to reports, Asus is in the process or branching off its contract manufacturing wing and will create a new company Pegatron Investment Holdings Company. As part of the split, Asus will issue a bunch of shares, 75 percent of which will go to the company's shareholders, and 25 percent to be held by Asus.
It's not clear whether or not Pegatron will also offer its manufacturing services to other Taiwanese companies or if it will exclusively supply parts to Asus. But either way, Asus is expected to put a ton of effort into promoting its own brand identity. The other major benefit is that Asus will drop its own capitalization by up to 85 percent.
While AMD's split into separate design and manufacturing businesses comes to mind, this move is more in line with what Acer did back in 2001 when it formed an independent company called Wistron to handle its manufacturing division. The move proved crucial in expanding Acer's global presence, and the company now rivals Dell as the top OEM in the world.
In the future that Acer chairman JT Wang envisions, ultra-thin notebooks with exceptional battery life will rule the mobile PC market, and to help get there, he's been urging Intel to focus more heavily on the ultra-thin segment. And Wang may be right, but why aren't we there already?
According to Wang, HP and Dell are to blame for holding the ultra-thin market back from its true potential. The reason, he says, is because both companies have dropped their mainstream notebook prices to $399 to compete, even though lightweight and skinny laptops are what consumers really want.
That's a bit of a curious statement coming from Acer, the same company notorious for low-priced parts, including notebooks. But Wang holds firm in his stance, saying that since HP and Dell haven't been pushing the ultra-thin market in the U.S., Intel has been misled into thinking there just isn't much demand.
Going forward, Wang predicts Acer's ultra-thin notebooks will account for about 30 percent of its total notebook shipments in 2010.
According to some chatty sources in the PC industry, Acer has placed orders with Nvidia for the company's upcoming Ion 2 chips, which are being designed to support Intel's Pineview parts (Atom N450, N470, D510, and D410 processors).
This is a somewhat different scenario than with the original Ion platform, which was a chipset with IGP. But Intel's Pine Trail-M (netbooks) and Pine Trail-D (nettop) chips have changed things around by moving the northbridge duties -- memory controller and IGP -- onto the CPU. So this time around, Nvidia's Ion 2 part will be more like a discrete GPU, the sources say.
It's a win-win combo for both sides. Acer's Ion-based AspireRevo nettops have been well received by consumers, and Acer expects the same to be true with its Ion 2-based builds.
Acer just keeps rising in the ranks, and according to market research firm iSuppli, the OEM managed to supplant Dell in the third quarter and claim the No. 2 spot in the worldwide PC business.
"Acer's rise to the number two rank in the global PC business reflects not only its strong performance in the notebook segment, but also the historic rise of Asia as a primary force in the computer industry," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst, compute platforms research, for iSuppli.
PC shipments for the now second place PC vendor shot up by 16.6 percent in the third quarter compared to the same period a year prior, and an impressive 31 percent from the second quarter of this year. All tallied, Acer now holds a 13.4 percent stake in the worldwide PC business, up from 12 percent one quarter ago.
Coming as no surprise, iSuppli says much of Acer's success is due to its aggressive pricing strategy. The research firm also noted strong ntoebook shipments and impressive regional performance in both Europe and the U.S.
It doesn't matter how good you've been all year, Santa won't be placing an Atom N450-based netbook under the Christmas tree this year. But on the bright side, you may not have to wait long. According to reports, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, and MSI, all of which originally planned on launching Atom N450-based netbooks this month, will release the units on January 11, 2010.
The decision to hold off until then complies with their agreement with Intel to only launch the products after January 10. There will be three versions of Atom N450-based netbooks using different OSes, the most popular (and expensive) expected to be Windows 7 Starter. The other two include Moblin Linux and Windows XP Home.
Who would have thought Acer would emerge as a front runner to release the first desktop replacement built around AMD's Evergreen graphics? Whether or not Acer will beat Alienware, Asus, and everyone else to the punch remains to be seen, but according to Fudzilla, the company is readying a monster notebook.
"Monster" in this case can refer to the size. At 18.4 inches, Acer's upcoming laptop probably won't spend much time on your lap. It could also refer to the Core i7-720QM processor stuffed inside, which races along at 1.6GHz. There's hardly an area that isn't beastly, including the 8GB of DDR3 memory, not one but two 640GB hard drives, and even a Blu-ray drive. And of course AMD's Mobility Radeon HD 5850 will bring DriectX 11 graphics to the table, along with 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
Other features of the lamely named Aspire 8942G-728G1280TWN (seriously?) include four USB 2.0 slots, 801.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, a 5-in-1 card reader, 8-cell battery, and other odds and ends.
No word yet on price or availability, but if we were to guess, we'd say "soon" and "expensive."
Citing un-named industry sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports that Acer has been working on a new netbook built around Google's upcoming Chrome OS since the middle of this year, and will launch the unit sometime in the second half of 2010.
DigiTimes also claims to have heard it straight from the horse's mouth, with Acer chairman J.T. Wang expressing confidence during an interview that his company will beat all others to the punch and bring the first Chrome-based netbook to market.
And if Wang's saying it, there's reason to believe it. Acer, after all, was the first top-tier vendor to release a Google Android-based nebook. Though demand for the model didn't meet the company's expectations, that apparently hasn't given Acer cold feet when it comes to releasing netbooks not sporting the Windows platform as the sole OS.