Just two months after launching its first netbook computer, Acer America plans to announce today that it chopped $50 off these 2-pound laptops. The Acer Aspire one is now $349 for the Windows XP version and $329 for the Linpus Linux Lite version.
Why the sudden price drop? To lure the back-to-school crowd, says Acer.
Netbooks, the newest category of computers, are a new option for students this fall, thanks to last spring’s debut of Intel’s tiny Atom chip. Most netbooks — also called nettops, ultra portables and mini computers — are around 2 pounds, have Wi-Fi for Internet access, screen sizes below 10 inches and cost between $300 to $500.
But with the onslaught of netbooks in recent months — about a dozen since spring– I wondered if people really wanted them or if this was all just a marketing ploy by PC makers to expand the computer market. Everyone from HP to newcomer Sylvania and Hannspree were coming out with one (the only PC brand without one rumored on the way is Irvine’s Gateway, which is owned by Acer). An analyst I interviewed believes companies think the market is bigger than it actually is.
I wouldn’t mind ditching my 6-pound laptop for a smaller, lighter laptop. Not that lightweight laptops are new. For many years, the lighter laptops, like Toshiba’s old 7-inch Libretto for $2,000, were just too expensive. The new netbooks skimp on features but at $399, you may not care.
Acer’s Aspire wasn’t the most expensive out there, nor the cheapest. But with the $50 price drop, it does become one of the cheapest, next to a very low-end $299 Eee PC from ASUS.
The $349 Aspire AOA150-1570 , in particular, weighs 2.17 pounds, and has 1GB of memory, a 120 GB hard drive and Windows XP. The Aspire one AOA110-1722 is the model with Linux. A third model, the AOA150-1447, includes better specs, such as a six-cell battery and 160 GB hard drive, and costs $399.
Images courtesy of Acer