Acer's Linux Netbook lighter, less RAM than Windows counterpart

So many options for one small product

Hot on the heals of ASUS's Eee PC announcement, computer giant Acer has announced the availability of its $599, Linux-friendly ultra-portable notebook, the Aspire One, which weighs either less or more than 1 kilogram depending on your choice of operating system.

The Aspire One 8.9-inch "Netbook" ships with either Linpus Linux Lite or Windows XP Home, and comes with 512MB or 1.5GB of memory, respectively. Strange, but true.

Perhaps that's where the weight difference comes in? According to Acer, the "Linux version weighs less than 1kg", whereas the "Windows XP version weighs 1.1kg".

Like the latest Eee PC, the Aspire One sports an Intel Atom processor, but Acer, in its quest to outdo ASUS, has trumpeted a few design and technology enhancements.

"Acer has improved upon the current market standard (presumably ASUS) in ultra portables and has taken it a step further by offering a Netbook that is smaller than an average office diary (24 x 17 cm), lighter than the competition (again, presumably ASUS) and has a full and easy to use software application suite with battery life of up to seven hours (with the optional 6-cell battery)," according to the company.

Other features of the Aspire One include an LED back-lit display with 1024x600 pixel resolution, integrated Web camera, and 802.11b/g WiFi.

With the option of 8GB of NAND flash memory, or an 80GB hard disk, perhaps the weight difference is due to the the two options for data storage? However, according to Acer that option appears to be operating system agnostic.

A five-in-one memory card is also built-in.

Acer senior product manager for the Oceanic region Henry Lee said the company has designed a Netbook that can be used as a mobile device, where features like "being small, fashionable, lightweight and having instant online access is paramount".

The Aspire One also ships with the OneMail application for integrating up to five e-mail accounts into one inbox.

With a price tag of $599 including GST for the Linux version and a choice of four swanky colours, the Aspire One should be a hit when it is available in stores from July 9.

A the very least, the Aspire One opens the floodgates of competition in the little Linux computer market.

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