Talk about a blast from the past. Packard Bell isn't a name that comes up very often, but make no mistake, the company is still around. Acer purchased the outfit in 2008, and Packard Bell remains a presence in Europe after it was essentially banished from the U.S. by NEC in the late 1990s, which at the time held a controlling interest. So now that we've established Packard Bell still exists, what is the company up to these days? All-in-one PCs, for one, including the newly revamped PB oneTwo.
Packard Bell is a name you probably haven't heard in awhile. Now a subsidiary of Acer, Packard Bell was once a major player in the U.S. desktop market, right up until the company packed its bags and left North America back in 2000. The general consensus among power users was 'good riddance,' and if you're still of that opinion, don't worry, Packard Bell isn't making its way back to the States. The company is, however, releasing a tablet in Europe that bears a striking resemblance to Acer's recently announced Iconia Tab A500.
Remember Packard Bell? Believe it or not, the company is still around, though in quite a different fashion than those beige rigs you probably remember fixing over a decade ago. Packard Bell, now a subsidiary of Acer, maintains a presence in Europe where it recently announced its Studio ST home entertainment media player.
"If you are looking for an external drive to carry your personal music, videos, and photos and play them back on a TV set, the new multimedia storage Packard Bell Studio ST is the perfect partner," Packard Bell said in a press release. "With its distinctive angular shape, its black glossy finish, its compact and stylish design, it perfectly fits any home interior."
Aesthetics aside, the Studio ST supports playback of 1080p video over HDMI with Dolby Digital and comes with 500GB to 2TB of disk space. Playing the part of the artful dodger, Packard Bell doesn't list out specific codec support, saying only that the Studio ST "plays all version of the most common videos, pictures, and audio files."
The Studio ST comes with a USB port, and in a move we wish other manufacturers would follow, Packard Bell includes all the cables you'll need, including composite A/V, YPbPr, HDMI, and USB.
Most of use remember Packard Bell as a manufacturer of craptastic PCs from over a decade ago before the company packed its bags and headed off to Europe. Believe it or not, the company is still around (now owned by Acer), and according to the latest tech chatter, Packard Bell plans to poke its head into the e-book hardware market with a color e-book reader.
There aren't many details to go on at this point, other than it will sport a color display and is slated to ship in September 2010. The company also plans to start selling content, such as movies, music, e-books, and the like.
But that's not all Packard Bell plans to push through its manufacturing pipeline. The company is also apparently working on an 11.6-inch convertible netbook that will arrive in February. Details on this one also remain sparse, but from what we were able to dig up, the upcoming netbook will feature a rotating display and turn into a tablet with multitouch support.
Not only is Packard Bell still around (there's a name we don't hear too often), but the former major U.S. player who now spends its time in Europe (kind of like Hasselhoff) is jumping aboard the Ion train with a nettop dubbed the iMax Mini.
Essentially a rebadged Acer AspireRevo, the iMax Mini comes configured with an Intel Atom N230 processor (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 cache, 533MHz frontside bus), 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive, six USB 2.0 ports, HDMI, and VGA. Underscoring the Ion platform, the iMax Mini will also come with a gamepad.
Other specs remain scarce, however Packard Bell did say it plans to price the new nettop at £249, or about $400USD.
If you were raised on Far Cry, Athlon 64s, and Britney Spears, you probably never heard of Packard Bell. But for the slightly more ripened generation, we can remember PB as a prominent OEM up until it packed its bags and skipped out of the U.S. market nearly a decade ago.
But the company didn't disappear, and instead has maintained a presence in Europe. And like everyone else that manufacturers PCs, Packard Bell is prepping a jump onto the increasingly crowded netbook bandwagon. PB's calling its entry the "dot," which will be an 8.9-inch ultraportable with a full install of XP.
At its core, the dot comes built around an Intel Atom processor. Storage duties will be handled by a 160GB hard drive and 1GB of memory. Optional add-ons include a 6-cell battery, webcam, and a 3G module. After plugging in the exchange rate, the dot looks to sell for $584 USD in Europe this November.
Any guesses as to who will be next to offer up a netbook?