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Acer embraces digital home

Plus Turion notebooks and a revamped Ferrari laptop

Acer is making further strides into the ‘digital home’ with the announcement today of the Aspire L200.

Acer digital home product manager James Wright describes it as the first “low profile, living room-style home PC”. Other vendors have so far failed to successfully fulfil this remit, claims Wright, producing units that more closely resemble “1980s video recorders”.

The 53mm-high L200 runs Windows Media Center 2005 and is powered by an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor. It comes with a 160GB Sata (serial ATA) hard disk, dual layer DVD-+/-RW drive and includes DVI and Scart connections as well as a combo Freeview and analogue TV tuner. Likely pricing will be around £800 inc VAT.

The announcement of the L200 comes several months after Acer shook up the large LCD screen market with the introduction of a 32in model costing just £999 [link: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/index.cfm?go=news.view&news=4394] – a product designed with entertainment-centric PCs in mind.

“This is our first truly convergent product and an indication of where our digital home line-up is going”, said Wright.

In approximately four weeks, Wright says he’ll be ready to show off Acer’s “media gateway” – a digital media server with which consumers will be able to stream music and video content from around their homes.

Wright was also able to confirm a Media Center Edition Extender product – allowing up to five household members to simultaneously share the same Media Center PC – is also in the pipeline.

Acer’s core business remains in the notebook arena, however. It showed off the £799 inc VAT consumer-focused Aspire 5020 dual-core Turion 64 model plus two Turion business notebooks in its TravelMate 4400 range. The 4401LCi will cost £599 ex VAT and sport a DVD/CD-RW drive while its £649 sibling will have a double-layer multiformat DVD rewriter.

Turion processors support the latest 64bit operating systems, are designed for longevity in lightweight notebooks and only generate as much power as running applications require, making portable battery juice go that much further.

Acer also flagged up its eyecatching Ferrari notebook, which is now in its fourth iteration and has also gone 64bit.

Previous versions rather overdid the distinctive Ferrari red racing colours, so we were relieved to find the Ferrari 4000 model somewhat less garish.

The revamped livery mimics the tyre treads on the back side of the 15.4in TFT screen, there’s an almost matte carbon-fibre surround to the keyboard and touchpad while the splashes of red are reserved for the sides of the unit.


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