Lauren Goode

Recent Posts by Lauren Goode

Acer Introduces “World’s Thinnest” Ultrabook and a “Me-Too” Cloud Service

Aside from unveiling an ultra-thin Ultrabook, Acer underwhelmed at CES today with its presentation of another skinny laptop and a suite of cloud services that looked a lot like … Apple’s cloud services.

First, Acer introduced what it is touting as “the world’s thinnest ultrabook” (it will be interesting to see if Acer can still lay claim to that title by week’s end): The Aspire S5, which measures just 15mm at its thickest point. It weighs less than three pounds and comes with a 13.3-inch LCD display screen. It also comes with an interesting “MagicFlip” port panel that’s hidden below the hinge of the laptop. Users can open the hinge to reveal a panel of ports, including HDMI, USB 3.0 and a 20 gigabyte Thunderbolt port.

The Acer Aspire S5 Ultrabook

The Aspire S5 laptop has an Intel Core processor, a solid state drive, extended battery life and a chiclet keyboard. It’s expected to ship in the second quarter of 2012; the expected price is still TBD.

With its Aspire Timeline Ultra laptops, Acer says it is expanding on the Ultrabook it rolled out in September. The Timeline Ultra is available in 14-inch and 15-inch models; the laptops are 20mm thin, boast eight hours of battery life, have solid state and hard disk drive options, as well as HDMI and USB 3.0 ports. They feature an Intel Core processor. So again, not totally different from other Ultrabooks we’ve seen and are expecting to see more of. The Timeline Ultra does, however, have a DVD-Super Multi optical drive, which some Ultrabooks do not have, depending on their thinness and innards. The Aspire Timeline Ultra is expected to ship this quarter.

But Acer’s cloud service offerings looked a lot like a “me-too” to what Apple showed off at WWDC last June. Due to a technical glitch during the press event — and the greatest ironies of tech conferences, aside from dependably terrible cellular and Wi-Fi service, are the technical glitches — we weren’t able to get a good look at Acer’s cloud media service for syncing music and other entertainment files.

Acer’s PicStream (demonstrated via a slide that looked like Apple’s iCloud slide), promises to share photos seamlessly from smartphones to Windows-based PCs and other devices; AcerCloud Docs is designed for syncing and sharing personal and professional documents via the cloud (although it seemed Acer was mainly targeting professionals with this service). Acer stressed that these services will support Windows-based and Android devices.

Lastly, in an odd but not uncommon press conference move, Acer’s Campbell Kan quickly showed off one more tablet and offered just two bits of information about it — it has a quad-core processor and a 1080p display — before concluding the event. Last week, my colleague Ina Fried wrote about Acer’s efforts to remain relevant in the tablet market by introducing a budget-priced, 10-inch, Android-based tablet, the Acer Iconia A200.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus