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Acer patent app reveals MID aspirations

The Taiwanese PC maker might be looking to make a mobile Internet device.

With so much attention paid to Netbooks lately, the MID category has been largely ignored as a portable device that basically exists for accessing the Internet. But not by Acer, which looks to be readying a device for the category.

Acer MID
Drawing of a potential mobile Internet device from Acer. US PTO

An application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows a small, rectangular device whose front is taken up entirely by screen except for a thin bezel. Besides what appears to be a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack and dock connector for PCs, there's not much else in the way of distinguishing features revealed in the drawing.

It's designed by one Arif Maskatia on behalf of Acer, and the file date was more than a year ago, although the application just recently started gathering attention on tech blogs.

Mobile Internet devices are basically expensive oversized smartphones. They haven't sold all that well because of their "in-betweenness," but things have changed in the past few years. With the increasing ubiquity of touch interfaces and the ability to accomplish more productivity tasks directly in a Web browser, perhaps MIDs could make a push for broader popularity.

Acer proved to be a beast when it comes to selling lots of Netbooks (outselling even global PC leader Hewlett-Packard in Europe) on the strength of aggressive pricing and the option of bundling wireless broadband service. Could it do the same with an MID? Perhaps, but first it would have to actually make the thing. Right now, there's no word on when or if this is going to be available.