Asus, Acer Plan 12-inch thin and light Netbooks

Much improved keyboard starting with Asus' Eee PC1000HE
Much improved keyboard starting with Asus’ Eee PC1000HE

Maybe they are mini-notebooks after all. Asus and Acer, the two biggest netbook companies, are planning to release models this month with 12-inch displays.

For its part, Asus is planning product blitz that includes an Eee PC with an 11.6 inch display for release later this month, according to a Digitimes interview with Asus president Jerry Shen. However, 50 per cent of the 2009 shipments will remain units with 10-inch displays including lighter and thinner models coming this month, according to TDR sources.

At the CeBit show in Germany last month,  Asus introduced the Eee PC1008HA, a thinner 2.4 pound 10-inch netbook with a five-hour battery. Invariably that model will most likely end for sale here. Forthcoming Asus netbooks will include the improved Chicklet keyboard that first appeared in the Eee PC 1000HE introduced Feb 9. Keyboards in previous Asus netbooks were horribly cramped.

The company also has an 15.6 inch XS15 ultra-thin notebook in the pipeline for between $1,000 and $1,300 as well as 13 and 14 inch entry level models, according to the Digitimes story.  Asus also introduced a 12-inch S-121 (S for Stylish on the Go computing) with a whopping big 512 GB solid state drive at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. An Asus spokeswoman declined to confirm existence the unannounced models and said availability and pricing of the S-121 in the U.S. were still unclear.

She added that the 1000HEis presently Asus’ best-selling netbook.

The Acer Aspire One Model 751 with an 11.6 inch display was demoed by Acer UK general manager Bobby Watkins in a Youtube video posted in May 1. It’ll sport a “full keyboard,” Intel Atom CPU, one GB of RAM, Windows XP Home, an 160-GB hard drive and 5 hours of battery standard with a 6-cell battery option for “all day” computing or up to nine hours, Watkins said.  The unit will come in five colors and will be out this month, costing about $570 (379£).

A message was left for Acer public relations to verify the video and offer details when the 751 might appear on shelves in the U.S.

The companies now join Dell with its Inspiron Mini 12 in the 12-inch netbook club.

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