Acer plans to launch its first ultra-low-cost laptop PC armed with Intel’s Atom microprocessor at the Computex trade show in Taipei this June, the company’s chairman said Wednesday.
Acer calls its low-cost laptop an ‘ultra mobility notebook’ and expects it to weigh less than 1 kilogram, according to J.T. Wang, chairman of the company.
The company doesn’t view such laptops as focused on developing nations. Instead, Acer lumps low-cost laptops together with netbooks, a new name given to handheld devices such as ultramobile PCs and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), which are aimed at people looking for a handheld device with a PC-like Internet experience, said Gianfranco Lanci, president of Acer, at the event.
Atom is the name of the processor formerly called Diamondville. It was designed for low-cost laptop PCs, ultramobile PCs, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and other small devices aimed at connecting to the Internet. The processor is tiny, less than 25 square millimeters, will be priced low, and run at a battery-saving 0.6 watts to 2.5 watts thermal design power, according to Intel.
Intel developed the chip for a class of low cost laptop PCs aimed at the developing world that started with the XO laptop from the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC). The foundation’s dream of a $100 laptop for kids in poor nations has turned into a global obsession, and technology companies are climbing aboard.
Asustek Computer of Taiwan may have created the most successful commercial low-cost laptop so far in its Eee PC. Since its launch late last year, Asustek has sold over one million Eee PCs, at prices starting from NT$7000 (US$231). Such strong sales have prompted rivals to join the fray for market share. Eee PCs currently on the market run on Intel’s mobile Celeron microprocessors.
There are already more than 25 low-cost laptops being developed around Atom, according to Intel.
On Monday, Taiwan’s Asustek Computer said it will release a new version of the low-cost Eee PC laptop with an Atom microprocessor at Computex as well. Taiwan’s Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has also revealed plans to launch an Atom-based low-cost laptop, the G10IL, while rivals Micro-Star International and Giga-byte Technology have also promised such devices.