Acer Brings Timeline Notebooks to U.S., Plans Android Netbooks

dell takes a slice at apple with super thin latitude z dellz closed

Acer America has announced that the company’s Timeline series of notebooks, featuring “all day” computing thanks to an average of more than 8 hours use on a single battery charge—ideal for serious mobile users and travelers.

“Acer has introduced yet another game changer in the world of notebook PCs,” said Acer America’s VP for product marketing Sumit Agnihotry, in a statement. “The Timeline sets new standards in both value and battery life, which are sure to be well received in this economy by on-the-go, yet always connected consumers.”

The new Timelines ship with a standard 6 cell battery, and Acer has popped as many low-power components into the system as possible to extend battery life. In addition, the systems feature a PowerSmart button that lets users quickly access power-saving settings, so users can dial things back—or crank them up—in one easy step.

First up, the Aspire Timeline AS3810T-6415 features a 13.3-inch 1,366 by 768 LCD display, a 1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 500 GB SATA hard drive, Bluetooth and 802.11a/g/n wireless networking, HDMI output, an integrated Webcam, and three USB ports. Stepping up a bit, the Acer Aspire Timeline AS4810T-8480 packs a 14-inch display (same resolution as above), an 8×DVD drive, 320 GB hard drive, and a media card reader, while the Aspire Timeline AS5810TZ-4657 steps up to a 15.6-inch display (same resolution), but comes stock with 3 GB of RAM and a fourth USB 2.0 port. All three Timeline models use Intel GMA graphics and ship with Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit. The 15-inch unit starts at $598; the 14.1-inch model starts at $699.99, while the 500 GB hard drive starts at $899.99. All three are available now.

In case these notebook offerings don’t work for you—and Acer’s myriad of netbook offerings aren’t floating your boat either—the cat is out of the bag that Acer plans to deliver netbook systems running Google’s Android mobile operating system, rather than Windows XP, Windows 7, or a Linux variant. The announcement came from Acer’s Jim Wong at the Computex trade show, and although the company hasn’t yet offered any details on pricing or availability, the move is potentially a way to undercut the low end of the netbook market by eliminating the “Microsoft tax” associated with loading Windows XP on netbook systems. It remains to be seen whether Android can successfully scale up to a netbook—after all, it was originally designed with phones in mind—or whether consumers will adopt an operating system that doesn’t run their beloved Windows applications like Minesweeper.