With all the buzz about Amazon's new Kindle 2, you'd think this revamped e-book reader was the most advanced piece of technology this side of designer babies. After all, for $359, you get a color screen, Wi-Fi and full-function Web browsing, video playback, 60GB of storage, and a reasonably usable keyboard.
Oh wait, you don't get any of that stuff. No, that's what $350 can get you if invested in even a low-end Netbook, such as the new 10-inch Acer Aspire One. Not only is there a wide range of PC software available for buying and displaying e-books (and tons of free content as well), when you're done with all that highbrow readin', pop open a Web browser and rot your brain with some Hulu videos.
Unlike the closed-loop system on the Kindle (it generally only works with e-books from Amazon, and Amazon e-books only work on the Kindle and the related iPhone app -- although there are some Kindle conversion tools out there, and Amazon will convert your personal docs for Kindle use at 10-cents a pop), at least you have a variety of different software and content provider options with my proposed $350 Kindle alternative.
We'll be the first to admit, none of these options are as seamless or easy to use as the Kindle (especially with its always-on wireless digital download store), and companies like Microsoft and Adobe aren't exactly known for building great software user experiences.
We tried installing and using a couple of e-book reading software packages on our Acer Aspire One, with mixed, but not wholly unsatisfactory results. First up was Microsoft Reader, which uses .lit files, available from several online e-book retailers (although not Amazon). Originally released in 2000, the software has a dated, inelegant interface, but displayed our e-book files cleanly. Like the Kindle, Microsoft Reader also has a built-in text-to-speech feature, although the results are just as robotic. … Read more
Updated to correct CPU name typo.
Of the four, we liked the $710 Pavilion a6750y the most. It offers the best all-around performance thanks to its quad-core AMD chip, with a hearty 8GB of RAM and a large 750GB hard drive … Read more
Weeks prior to the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 here in Barcelona, there were plenty of rumors as to what Acer would reveal at its scheduled Monday press conference. We knew they'd be smartphones but there were varying opinions as to how many and what type. Well, all the speculation can stop now as the company finally took the wraps off the devices on Monday night.
Speaking at Antoni Gaudi's Casa Batllo, several Acer executives, including CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci, announced that the company would bring more than 10 smartphones to market in 2009 and showed off … Read more
On Monday night, Acer held a press conference during GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009, where the company unveiled eight new smartphones. Full details of the event and the new devices are coming soon, but in the meantime, check out our photo gallery of the event, which was held at Antoni Gaudi's Casa Batllo.
Despite owning a huge chunk of the growing Netbook market, the popular Acer Aspire One has been saddled with a 9-inch screen, rather than the bigger 10-inch type we prefer. At long last, Acer now has a 10-inch model, the Aspire One AOD150.
Even better, it's keeping the starting price at $349, which is about $50-$100 cheaper than similarly configured systems from other PC makers. Netbooks were originally intended as cheap, no-frills travel machines, and the new Aspire One fits that bill well, but there are also plenty of slightly more expensive options that add polish.
Read the … Read more