Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Laptop gives home theatre-type experience
A model holds Acer's new notebook computer, the Aspire Gemstone Blue, during its unveiling at a news conference in New York.
Taiwanese computer-maker Acer announces plans to take laptop users as close as they can get to the high-definition home theatre experience.
The top model of the new "Gemstone blue" line of laptops has a screen with the same resolution as an a top-of-the-line HDTV, at 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels, and will have six speakers, including a subwoofer, for so-called "5.1" surround sound.
The computer will go sale next month in the US for $US1999. A model with three speakers and a smaller screen (but still HD resolution) will cost $US1699. Both will have built-in Blu-ray disc drives.
(An Acer Australia spokeswoman said the laptop will be launched locally within the "next few weeks" but would not reveal pricing details.)
The computer industry has long had its set of standard screen resolutions, while the consumer electronics industry has standardized on different ones. Acer's Blue line effectively adopts the consumer-electronics standard, which means that many movies and all HD TV shows will fill the screen, without black bars.
Acer said the laptops would be the first with 1920-by-1080 screens, and the top model is the first laptop with six speakers.
The $US1999 model has an 47cm-wide screen, placing it in the "desktop replacement" category of heavy laptops that aren't meant for more than occasional travel.
Even with six speakers, the laptop isn't capable of true surround sound, since that requires speakers on either side of the listener at ear level.
Some current laptops use two speakers to simulate the enveloping experience of surround sound. Acer's laptop will do the same, but the simulation is better with six speakers than with two, said Acer senior vice president Jim Wong.
At the presentation in New York, Acer president Gianfranco Lanci said the company plans to meet its goal of selling 300 million units worldwide this year. It was the third largest PC maker in the world in 2007.