Acer Aspire AS1410-2285 – Best Value in a Shipping Netbook?

Acer Aspire AS1410 If you are looking for the best value in a shipping netbook, today is your day. For around $400 plus shipping, you can get the Acer Aspire AS1410-2285 shipped from Amazon, and if you’re willing to spend extra, you could have it on Friday.

What does $399.99 plus shipping get you? Quite a bit actually, it will get a dual-core CPU with Intel’s 4500MHD graphics, an HDMI port, Windows 7 Premium, and an 11.6-inch display.

Full specifications: Acer Aspire AS1410-2285 (Black casing)
OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
CPU: 1.2GHz Intel Celeron SU2300 Dual-Core CULV CPU
RAM: 2GB DDR2 667MHz
HDD: 160GB SATA Hard Drive
Networking: Intel WiFi Link 1000 802.11a/b/g/Draft-N
Graphics: Intel 4500MHD Graphics (GMA)
Display: 11.6″ WXGA LED-Backlit Display
Battery: 6-cell Li-ion Battery (4400 mAh), up to 6 hours according to Acer
Weight: 3 pounds/1.4 kg

In addition to the above, it’s coming with three USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a Multi-gesture touchpad.

Looking at Acer’s other Windows 7 listings at Amazon, it looks like HDMI out will finally be standard. Most of the Acers should be expandable to 4GB of RAM.

While this is a Celeron, expect non-Celeron-based netbooks with dual-core CPUs to be out in the next few weeks. Amazon is showing the Acer Aspire AS1810T-8679 with a Core 2 Duo SU7300, up to 8 hours of battery life, and 4GB of RAM shipping in November.

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Windows 7 Selling Like Crazy in the UK

Windows 7 Microsoft’s Windows 7 is selling like crazy in the UK – the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack for XP or Vista is selling particularly well (constantly jumping up and down on the best seller list), as is the Windows 7 Ultimate Upgrade Edition for XP or Vista users and TG Daily is reporting that Amazon claims to have become the biggest pre-order product of all time in the UK.

That’s some pretty heady stuff, as it apparently beat out the Harry Potter books in the UK, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which was their biggest pre-order to date. They claim that just over the past three months alone, only the latest Dan Brown book has beat out Windows 7 pre-orders and that it’s surprising when you look at it as a product versus product (software versus book) competition.

Link: TG Daily

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Microsoft Windows 7, the Starter Edition

Windows 7 Channel Insider has an article up discussing the pros and cons of Microsoft’s plans as far as netbooks and the upcoming Windows 7. Specifically, they discuss the Windows 7 Starter Edition, which is going to be a stripped-down version of the “regular” Windows 7 versions/distributions. One of the worst aspects of the Starter Edition will be the fact that it only allows for three applications to be run concurrently.

There will also be some advanced features missing, which I don’t think will be as important (for most) as the three application limit, but CI makes a good case for the Windows 7 Starter Edition versus the Windows XP Home edition that ships with many current netbooks:

The big question is, Will customers be willing to pay for an OS that is arguably less capable than Windows XP Home edition, which is currently found on the majority of netbook computers? Netbooks have proved to be a challenge for Microsoft—the company has had to make special exceptions to get netbook vendors to put a Microsoft OS on those systems, the end result being a step backward down to Windows XP.

They point out what many of us have experienced – where Vista ran poorly on ultraportable netbooks/sub-notebooks, Windows 7 (beta) runs much better and provides for a better overall experience, even when compared to the performance of XP Home (especially in the networking area).

They do make a crucial point that Microsoft can’t ignore: If Microsoft (and the manufacturers who will be working on what editions are shipped with various netbook models) botch it and start pushing out netbooks with the Starter Edition, Apple could very well gain quite a bit with the release of their own netbook. Chances are high that any netbook shipping from Apple is going to ship with a version of Mac OS X that resembles what you see with the MacBook and with the Mac mini (and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s the same OS X that ships on their consumer products). Apple is very proud of the fact that they’ve managed to scale OS X down to the iPhone, and you also have a huge unofficial (highly unofficial) group of netbook users who have worked out how to install OS X on just about every type of netbook you can imagine. OS X runs well on these devices. Apple also makes use (or has in the past) of the fact that they basically have two versions of OS X they ship (three if you count the iPhone) – the consumer/client version, and the server version. They don’t have a Home or a Home Premium or a Professional or a Business or an Ultimate version.

Microsoft takes a huge risk when trying to push a version of Windows 7 that would restrict you to three applications, and Channel Insider mentions the advertising benefits that Apple would reap:

How will Apple respond to the launch of Windows 7 Starter Edition? I can picture the cute commercials now. Imagine a Mac commercial where the PC guy is shown juggling a couple of balls, the Mac Guy walks in juggling dozens of balls and throws one ball in the PC Guy’s direction, and the PC Guy drops everything

The ads would write themselves, as many American consumers have not experienced a “Starter” edition of Microsoft Windows, and would be extremely upset to find out after the fact that their netbooks with Windows 7 can’t do as much as their netbooks with Windows XP. Retailers would not be happy with Microsoft or the manufacturers, as they would bear the brunt of consumer anger and confusion.

Read: Channel Insider

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Netbooks Impacting the Mainstream Market


Joe Wilcox, editor of Microsoft Watch, has put together an in-depth article about the impact netbooks are having on the traditional, or mainstream, laptop/notebook market.

Netbooks are cannibalizing the low-end part of the market and driving some margins down (in the so-called “race to the bottom”). Just how much they are is up for debate – I think once we’ve seen another quarter or two, and factor in the MSI Wind U100 and Acer Aspire One launch during the first half of last year, then we’ll have a better idea on just what kind of impact they are having. eWeek considers this a huge problem for the overall PC market, and they believe the Microsoft must be a part of anything that addresses this. They mention the first quarter 2009 shipment information that was just released by both Gartner and IDC, and PC shipments declined by 6.5 percent over this time last year, while netbooks/sub-notebooks sales were strong. I think some of that is being alarmist – even if netbooks didn’t exist, shipments would probably still be down. Companies are cutting back, and within the last few years, laptops have reached a point as far as cost versus computing power, where the benefits of upgrading fairly often for consumers has dropped substantially. It’s one thing if you are going from an old Celeron or Pentium 4-based laptop from 5 years ago to a Intel Core 2 Duo-based system, it’s another if you are already on a Core Duo or Core 2 Duo-based system. I think we’ve reached the point where people aren’t going to be compelled to upgrade as often. On top of that, you have Microsoft Windows 7 which is going to perform as well or better on existing systems that were sold with Vista (and it performs just fine on Intel Atom-based systems).

I think that it is a problem for manufacturers, but at the same time, the damage is done. It’s very clear that these devices are something that consumers are very interested in, and in many cases, they are being bought by people who may not already own a laptop for one reason or another. I can also see the fear that the NVIDIA Ion platform inspires in some – a low-end netbook/ultraportable, perhaps powered by an Intel Atom (or a VIA Nano), capable of HD graphics (even just 720p). That would absolutely impact the traditional 15″ (and now 17″) budget market. Netbooks with their current, outdated graphics systems, are already impacting the market – the demand was there, and the products to fill it simply didn’t exist, at least at a pricepoint that was affordable by mainstream consumers. As we go forward, you’ll find more people willing to forego the 15″ laptops for something in the 13″ and below range.
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Apple’s Netbook, AT&T’s 3G Upgrades

Apple Inc Logo Commercial Times/Digitimes is reporting that Foxconn Electronics (as it’s known in the US, Hon Hai Precision Industry as it’s known elsewhere) could be the potential supplier for an Apple Mac OS X-based netbook.

Foxconn and Apple have a relationship that goes back several years, and they’ve manufactured either partially, or in whole, devices for Apple that include iPhones, MacBook Airs, Mac minis, along with some iPods, so it makes sense that they are in the running for this.

Something that maybe slightly related – on the heels of AT&T offering netbooks with mobile data plans, Telephony Online is reporting that AT&T is working on upgrading its existing 3G networks up to a 7.2Mb/s speed. The improvements that could potentially double current speeds/capacity are software-based, designed to boost its 3G network before its eventual move over to a 4G network.

Telephony Online claims that it’s centered around the downlink capacity. The article mentions that most laptop cards (and presumably USB adapters), as well as smartphones and iPhones that AT&T currently offers, can handle the increased capacity.

Should AT&T’s plans to offer netbooks with mobile data plans prove successful, along with iPhone OS 3.0 coming out in the not-too-distant future, the increased capacity should be put to the test. Already Skype has been rolled out to the iPhone (although WiFi access is needed for VOIP), and an iPhone-based client is in the works as well.

Telephony Online
via AppleInsider

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