This week in laptops

The week's laptop news, in digest form.

We're packing our laptops and hitting the road for the holiday.

Crave presents the week's laptop news, in digest form.

The week before the U.S. Labor Day holiday brought some pretty big news: Taiwanese manufacturer Acer has agreed to purchase Gateway. The deal delivers a one-two punch to Acer's rival, Lenovo; not only will the acquisition thrust Acer ahead of Lenovo to become the third-largest PC maker in the world, but it potentially could also stymie Lenovo's attempt to acquire Packard Bell (turns out, Gateway has right of first refusal to buy that company). The upshot for consumers, though, is far from earth-shattering; Wired reported that Gateway's familiar dairy cow branding will stay--for now.

Product announcements this week included a new "ruggedized" laptop from Systemax (the unfortunately named Assault) as well as the $499 Compaq Presario V6500Z. The realm of quad-core laptops looks to have doubled in size, with news that Sager will unleash its own competitor to the Xtreme Accelerator 917V on September 20. The Sager model is supposedly housed in the same Clevo chassis as the quad-core from Xtreme Notebooks; we're eager to hear what Clevo has to say about it. And Sharp announced a multitouch display panel that can be manufactured up to a 12-inch size, which got Gizmodo all hyped up about possible applications in MacBooks.

In Reviews, we looked at a pair of Toshibas: the somewhat unwieldy Tecra M9 and the feature-packed Satellite U305. We also checked out the semirugged Panasonic ToughBook CF-52, which feels like it would stop a bullet (though CNET Labs staff was unable to verify this hunch). Finally, we rounded up a few of our latest business laptop reviews for any worker who wants a fresh start this fall.

In other laptop news, the Dell XPS m1730 hasn't even been announced, and yet there are reports that it's been delayed. Meanwhile, issues with paint have also delayed Dell's colorful Inspiron line. Some salt on Dell's wound: a former Alienware developer (who left right before Alienware was acquired by Dell) launched NVousPC, a new company that offers laptops with customized paint jobs.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, and we'll be back next week!