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Acer Aspire One AOD255 netbook packs dual-core Atom

Computer maker Acer is launching a new version of its Aspire One AOD255 netbook, featuring an Atom dual-core processor, a one-inch thick design, and the promise of up to eight hours of use on a single battery charge. The company is also rolling out new versions of its Aspire One AO721 and AO521 netbooks, aimed at portable entertainment options with AMD Athlon II Neo processors and HD video support—including HDMI output and up to 2 GB of RAM.

“We have enhanced our best-selling Aspire One netbook line with the improved performance and better power efficiency to improve the mobile computing experience for consumers,” said Acer Americas senior product manager for netbooks Pete Dailey, in a statement.

The updated Aspire One AOD255 features and Intel Atom N550 dual-core processor, Intel integrated graphics, and a 10.1-inch CrystalBrite LED-backlist display that Acer says sips 22.2 percent less power than comparable notebook displays. The AOD255 runs Windows 7 Starter and comes with Microsoft Office Starter 2010, sports 1 GB of DDR2 RAM, a 250 GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, an integrated 1.3 megapixel webcam (with microphone), and built-in Ethernet. The unit itself measures just once inch thick and weighs just over 2.5 pounds, making it highly portable. The Aspire One AOD255 will carry a suggested price of $329.99 and be available in red, black, brown, and aquamarine; a single-core version will also be available for a suggested price of $269.99.

Meanwhile, the Acer Aspire One AO721 and Aspire One AO521 aim to crank up the multimedia and entertainment possibilities—and they turn to AMD processors to do it. The systems sport AMD Athlon Neo K125 processors with ATI Radeon HD 4225 graphics controllers with 384 MB of dedicated video memory—and HDMI output for pushing high-definition video to big-screen TVs. The Aspire One AO721 sports an 11.6-inch LED-backlit display and a full-size keyboard—a welcome relief for folks who get cramped hands using typical shrunk-down netbook keyboards—and runs Windows 7 Home Premium. The AO721 also sports 2 GB of RAM and a 250 GB hard drive, and Acer says it can manage up to six hours of battery life. The Aspire One AO512 steps down a little bit to a 10.1-inch display, 1 GB of RAM, and a 160 GB hard drive, and Windows 7 Starter. Both models feature 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, built-in Ethernet, and a built-in webcam and mic.

The Acer Aspire One AO721 has a suggested price starting at $429.99, while the Aspire One AO521 will have suggested prices starting at $349.99.

All three netbooks should be available later this month at leading U.S. retailers.