Tue, Jan 10, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Acer Inc unveils ‘world’s thinnest’ Ultrabook unit

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

Acer Inc (宏碁), the world’s No. 4 PC brand, on Sunday showed off at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas the Aspire S5 Ultrabook, which it boasts is the “world’s thinnest.” It also launched the AcerCloud service to rival Apple Inc’s iCloud.

The 13-inch machine measures just under 15mm at its thickest point and weighs less than 1.35kg. For comparison, the 13-inch MacBook Air from Apple measures 17mm at its thickest point and weighs the same as the Aspire S5.

One of the distinguishing features of the Aspire S5 is the “MagicFlip” panel, where a handful of ports — HDMI, USB and Thunderbolt — are concealed inside the back edge of the machine and can be popped out when needed, but otherwise sit flush to keep the computer slim.

The statement didn’t offer pricing details, but said it would be released in the second quarter.

Another attention grabber was that Acer rolled out its own cloud-based service to compete with iCloud and to increase consumer loyalty to its wide range of devices.

AcerCloud would allow owners of Acer computers to access the music, photos and documents stored on their PCs from Android-powered smartphones and tablets even if the PC is asleep or hibernating.

The free service would come preinstalled on all of Acer’s consumer computers starting in the second quarter, the company said.

Android would be supported at first, followed by a Windows Phone version, it added.

Investment bank Barclays Capital yesterday gave a thumbs-up to Acer’s product launches at CES, one of the world’s major consumer electronics shows.

“We were impressed by Acer’s new product launches, especially its Ultrabook, which we believe should account for 25 percent to 35 percent of its total notebook shipments this year — in line with Acer’s guidance,” Barclays analyst Kirk Yang (楊應超) wrote in the report.

That would allow it to enjoy one of the highest market shares among its peers, he said.

In contrast, Yang said Acer’s tablets are not expected to contribute meaningful sales this year.

Acer is also showcasing the Iconia Tab A700 and A200 tablets at CES.

The A700 uses the next-generation Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processors with a 10.1 inch display at 1920x1200 resolution versus Apple’s iPad 2, at 1024x768. The A700 offers 10 hours of battery life and weighs 650g, compared with the iPad 2’s 601g and iPad 1’s 680g.

The cheaper A200 runs on the Tegra 2 dual-core processors and has a 10.1 inch display at 1280x800 resolution.

This clarified earlier reports that Acer might exit the tablet market amid strong rivalry from competitors, Yang said.

Separately, smaller rival Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) yesterday said its unconsolidated revenue last month grew 12 percent from last year to NT$24.55 billion (US$814 million).

The figure was an 18 percent decline from November, according to a statement.

Asustek’s unconsolidated sales for the whole of last year rose 7.17 percent to NT$317.67 billion.

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