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Acer uncloaks next-gen Atom netbook

'Up to 10 hours' of battery life

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Acer has released its first netbook based on Intel's latest Atom processor and Pine Trail platform, but as with Samsung's new next-gen lineup also announced today, don't expect to get your hands on one until later this month.

The Aspire One AO532h was first spotted on Acer's support site back in mid-December, and it has now been officially announced by the company.

The netbook is powered by the 5.5-watt Intel Atom N450 processor that was announced on December 21, ahead of its previously assumed coming-out party at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. At that time, the N450 made its debut alongside the 13-watt dual core D510 and 10-watt single-core D410, both designed for entry-level desktops.

The single-core, dual-threaded N450 runs at 1.66GHz, has a 512KB cache, and supports DDR-2 memory over a 667MHz frontside bus. The Aspire One AO532h in which it sits has a 10.1-inch LED-backlit display, 1GB of memory, 160GB 5,400rpm hard drive, multi-standard media-card reader, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, three USB ports, and 10/100BASE-T Ethernet.

The N450 being a Pine Trail chip, its graphics are handled onboard the processor itself, and its relationship with the outside world is handled by Intel's new NM10 Express I/O controller chip.

Shipping with Microsoft Windows 7 Starter Edition, the 1.25kg AO532h also has stereo speakers, a webcam, and multitouch pad, and it's available in "Onyx Blue, Garnet Red, or Matrix Silver." Price starts at $299.99.

That $299 gets you an AO532h with a standard 8-hour 4400mAh lithium-ion battery. For an extra fifty bucks, you can move up to a 10-hour 5600mAh power source.

Despite the fact that the AO532h is just 10.17-by-7.28-by-.99 inches, Acer claims that its keyboard has grown to 93 per cent of a standard-sized model. And you've gotta love that .99-inch height - just so the marketeers can say "under one inch."

Now that the N450 and its Pine Trail support from the NM10 are in the wild, expect smaller, lighter, long-battery-life netbooks to become available from Asus, Dell, and MSI any day now. ®

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