Acer has taken a swipe at a major competitor at the launch of its new mini PC range. Billed as a 'notebook replacement', Acer claims the three-litre ultra small form factor PCs offer the same performance as traditional models. But marketing director, Raymond Vardanega, admitted there was a difficult education job ahead and laid the blame squarely at the feet of a rival brand.
He would not name the culprit on record but said the problems had centred around a six-litre PC powered by an Intel Pentium M processor.
"When we proposed this [mini PC range] to some of the retailers they were extremely cynical. You know why? Because some idiots before us launched products that incorporated notebook components," he said. "When they put them on the market, people bought them because they liked the size but took them home and found they were slower than the things they were replacing. The products failed.
"People accept a smaller product but become wary from a performance point of view. We have been quite anxious to show this is a full-performance product."
Acer unveiled three mini PCs at the press launch in Sydney on Tuesday, which it claims are 10 times smaller and four times lighter than standard boxes. The range includes an AcerPower 1000 aimed at small business, an Aspire L320 media centre and a Veriton 1000 for corporate users.
The company claims its new minis are the quietest PCs on the market and was quick to play the green card, especially with regard to its corporate model. It estimated an enterprise customer replacing 3000 PCs with the new Veriton would save $47,000 a year on power.
Although admitting he would not personally use one as a mobile solution, Vardanega said some customers had indicated they would. He pointed to a very specific type of consumer that would be targeted with the new mini PC.
"Our retail channel partners are excited by the number of clients in small one-bedroom or studio apartments that are buying notebooks because they are smaller and less intrusive than a PC," he said. "They are paying a premium for that and yet they are rarely using battery - it is plugged in 100 per cent of the time."
Vardanega predicted the small business market would be the toughest to crack.
"The SMB market typically thinks bigger is better," he said. "That area is the softest but we still believe it will roll very quickly once there is acceptance."
Pricing of the new range starts at $799 for an AcerPower 1000 without monitor.