Acer gets a jump-start on Centrino

Acer Canada has made it two in a row. Last year they were the first to market with a convertible tablet notebook and the subsidiary has confirmed they will have Intel Centrino-based notebooks ready for the channel on March 12 – the launch date for the new chip platform.

With the release

of the TravelMate 800 notebook line, Acer Canada will be offering the mobile professional or road warrior an opportunity to extend the performance of the notebook. With the Intel Centrino chip inside the TravelMate 800, mobile users will have a lighter, thinner, more energy-efficient unit with better battery life that contains several wireless connectivity options.

“”This is our answer to all day computing for people out in the field,”” said Terry Tomecek, general manager for Acer Canada, based in Mississauga, Ont.

Intel’s Centrino can intelligently distribute power with its power-optimized CPU logic design. It uses the Pentium M processor, 855PM chipset and Pro/Wireless 2100 or 2100A network connection.

The TravelMate 800 also comes with integrated, coexistent, 802.11b or 802.11a/b dual band WLAN and Bluetooth technologies. The TravelMate 800 can seamlessly switch between WLAN and Bluetooth modes as needed. A built-in Smart Card reader increases security for WLAN working environments, including when roaming.

According to Sumit Agnihotry, product marketing manager-mobile products for Acer America in San Jose, Calif., the TravelMate 800 is also equipment with four USB 2.0 ports.

“”Everything now is USB and people need more USB options for their digital camera, their MP3 player, an external mini-disc, scanner and printer,”” Agnihotry said.

Acer Canada has already been delivering the Acer/Centrino message to its channel partners.

“”There is good value for being an early adopter (with an Centrino-based Acer notebook). There will be better margins for VARs early on. They need to go out and talk to their customers who are upgrading to mobile. It is another reason to talk to them,”” Tomecek said.

Acer has already set up training and Webinars for their reseller base on Centrino.

The target market for the TravelMate 800 with Centrino is a mature buyer Tomecek said. “”In this light category, they are highly mobile and want good battery life.””

Another incentive to upgrade will be the three-year warranty on Centrino-based Acer notebooks. Tomecek said that Acer offers only a one-year warranty on normal notebooks.

Acer anticipates that half of its notebook sales will be for Centrino.

Agnihotry believes there will be a shift in the market because of Centrino. According to him, there will be two distinct notebook segments. The first will be the mobility buyer who wants freedom and the flexibility of being unwired. The second is the desktop replacement buyer who has a focus on speed and desktop features such as large screen, keyboard and multiple drives or expansion slots. This type of

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