By Chris Nicholls
SYDNEY: Acer has launched its new Eee PC 901 competitor, the Aspire One, weeks ahead of its rival, with a retail strategy that could see it blow past the established ‘netbook’ leader.
The new 8.9-inch device will sell for a 901-beating price of RRP $499 for the Linux version and $599 for the Windows XP Home version (after $100 cashback on each) when it arrives next week, and will be the first netbook in Australia with Intel’s new Atom processor.
Storage also exceeds that of the Eee PC 901, at least on the Windows version, with an 80 GB hard disc standard (compared with 12 GB for the Eee 901).
The Linux version falls behind its Asus rival, though, with only eight gigabytes on board memory, although this can be expanded through its SD card slot.
Another selling point is weight, with the Aspire One tipping the scales at just under a kilo compared with the Eee PC’s 1.14 kilos – not a huge difference in reality, but important when rivalry between the brands is so hot.
Unlike many of its rivals, the Aspire One also has an LED-backlit screen, giving greater screen viewing angles and more clearly defined colours.
In a move that may also scupper the Eee 901’s hopes, both Windows and Linux versions will sell through all channels, not just computer shops, as will occur with the 901.
While the Aspire One does not have HSDPA internet out of the box, Lee said Acer was already talking to local phone networks about its upcoming mobile internet card upgrade.
Acer will also mimic Asus and push the Aspire One at school children, with Lee saying the products’ light weight and low price made it ideal for younger children.
“It’s an absolute must for the younger generation as a learning tool,” he said.
“The traditional powerful notebook tends to be too heavy for the primary school kids to take to school, and it would be too expensive for the super-portable type,” he said.
The Aspire One could also be used as a secondary notebook, Lee said.
Fashion conscious customers will be catered for with five finishes, with gloss white and dark metallic blue the launch colours and pink, ‘Golden Brown’ and gloss black available from late August/early September.