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Acer unveils multimedia-optimized notebooks

The Taiwanese vendor also closes its Packard Bell acquisition at a U.S. coming-out party

Acer unveiled a line of multimedia-optimized laptops in New York on Wednesday at its splashy, first-ever U.S. press conference, where it also announced the close of its acquisition of Dutch computer-maker Packard Bell.

Acer unveiled the Aspire 8920 and 6920 series of notebooks, with a new design the company is calling Aspire Gemstone “blue.” The laptops, which come in both 18.4-inch and 16-inch versions, include a Blu-Ray disc drive, full high-definition (HD) LCD screens and support for the Dolby Pro Logic 2.0 surround-sound audio system.

Speaking at the press event on Wednesday, senior corporate vice-president Jim Wong said the new design is aimed at bringing a “true multimedia innovation” to the notebook form factor. The new notebooks are based on Intel Core 2 Duo processors and run either Windows Vista Ultimate or the Windows Vista Home Premium OS because of the multimedia functionality those OSes can deliver. However, Wong said Acer would consider running a different OS — presumably Linux — on machines that don’t require rich multimedia capability.

The New York event, which featured white-clad models carrying the notebooks and an open bar, was a U.S. coming-out party of sorts for the Taiwanese computer-maker. Acer is eager to woo U.S. consumers now that it is offering not only its own notebooks here, but also eMachine computers from Packard Bell and PCs from U.S. computer-maker Gateway, the acquisition of which Acer revealed last August.