"What the devil," we hear you ask, "is the Acer DX241H Web Surf Station?" That's funny -- we were about to ask the same question. On the face of it, the Web Surf Station is a 24-inch high-definition monitor, but it also surfs the Net, making it an intriguing mash-up of Internet-connected television, all-in-one PC and tablet.
According to Acer, it's "the first monitor that lets you surf the Web and enjoy your multimedia with no need of a computer!" That's either brilliant or bunkum. We haven't decided which yet.
The Web Surf Station is designed to bring an always-on experience to your desktop, so you can quickly check the Internet, dip into your social networks, or watch some media without waiting for your computer to boot up. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a tablet on a stick.
The Web Surf Station differs from an all-in-one PC because it isn't a fully featured computer. It's probably closer to a Web-connected television, now that TVs come with their own built-in Internet portals.
One thing's for sure -- the Surf Station highlights the way lines between gadgets are becoming increasingly blurred. When phones, tablets, computers, tellies and even cameras all surf the Web, record photos and video, play music and films, and even make phone calls, the distinguishing feature is the size of the screen.
The Surf Station includes Acer's Clear.fi media-sharing software. Clear.fi is included on Acer's laptops, phones and other devices, and lets you share photos, music and videos with the other network-connected gadgets in your house. The Surf Station connects to other devices wirelessly via DLNA, with USB and HDMI sockets also included. It has an 80,000:1 contrast ratio, with a 2ms response time, and plays 1080p hi-def video.
We've asked Acer for more details on this intriguing product. How is it different to an all-in-one PC, or a Web-connected telly? What operating system does it run? Can you install apps? We'll let you know the answers as soon as we do.
Whatever the Web Surf Station is, we're certainly interested. It arrives in May for £300, and we'll be trying it out just as soon as Acer can magic one up at CNET UK Towers. Are you impressed? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.