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Acer Releasing Ultrabook, Aims for Sales Rebound

Amid increased competition from tablets and smartphones, Acer has been struggling with declining profits

Acer will launch its own Ultrabook in the fourth quarter, in the hopes of overcoming foundering laptop sales and increasing competition from tablets and smartphones. Acer has been struggling with declining profits, and the company cut its first-quarter PC revenue outlook this year.

Acer's rival, Asus, displayed its UX21, the first Ultrabook announced, at the Computex trade show on Tuesday. Asus chairman Jonney Shih said in the Intel press release for the Ultrabook: "Customers are demanding an uncompromised computing experience in a lightweight, highly portable design that responds to their needs quickly. Transforming the PC into an ultra-thin, ultra-responsive device will change the way people interact with their PC."

Acer president Jim Wong said he believes "the Ultrabook can help to revive the notebook market." And Intel is optimistic of Ultrabooks in general, predicting that 40 percent of laptops sold by the end of next year will be Ultrabooks.

There's no word yet on Acer's Ultrabook specs, but if it follows Intel's design suggestions, the planned laptop will be 20 millimeters or thinner and start at under $1,000. A long-life battery and "instant on" functionality are other common features we may expect.

Both the Asus UX21 and the Acer Ultrabook should arrive around the same time this year - just in time for holiday shopping. It may be a race to see who comes out of the gate first, and there's little doubt other manufacturers will join the Ultrabook competition as well.

Whichever rival comes out on top, hopefully this marriage of tablet-like features in an ultraportable form really will rejuvenate the PC market.

Follow Melanie Pinola (@melaniepinola) and Today@PCWorld on Twitter

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