Acer ships updated Aspire One, with Windows but no Linux

About a week ahead of schedule, Acer has started US shipments of its second generation Aspire One netbook, a Windows XP-only device with a larger 10.1-inch screen.

Despite the bigger screen size of the new Aspire One AOD150, Acer's latest netbook doesn't offer an appreciably roomier keyboard, according to some who have tried out the new PC, which first shipped in the UK on January 23.

On the other hand, some units will reportedly be outfitted with a new, much more capable battery 5800mAH battery from Acer -- instead of the standard 4400mAH battery -- simply because Acer was in a hurry to get the new netbooks out the door.

Other specs of the Aspire One AOD150 include a 160 GB hard drive, single SDHC Card slot, 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 CPU, and 1 GB of RAM.

But unlike the original 8.9-inch Aspire, which came preloaded with a choice of Windows XP Home or Linpus Linux Lite, the AOD150 is available with Windows XP only.

Similarly, Asustek, another up-and-comer with its netbooks, decided some time ago to emphasize Windows over Linux -- in the US market, anyway.

"Linux is going well for us, especially in Europe," said Josh Norem, senior technical marketing specialist at Asustek, in an interview with Betanews late last fall. "But now we're focusing on Windows XP, because a lot of people find it easier to use."

Acer and Asustek both seem to be doing a lot of things right in the US space, if data released today by IDC is a good indication. Under very tough economic conditions, both companies grew their shares in the US notebook/netbook market during the fourth quarter of 2008. Acer's portable PC shipments in the US amounted to more than four million, showing a 57% increase over the same quarter the year before.

For its part, relative newcomer Asustek shipped about 300,000 portables in the US during the quarter, landing in eighth place with a 3% market share. At the same time, US industry leader Dell slipped 8% to 8.88 million units, followed very closely in the rankings by Hewlett-Packard, with 8.77 million units.

But is there hope for Linux on netbooks yet? HP last week rolled an Ubuntu Linux-based custom GUI for its own Mini 1000 Mi Edition netbook, with a new UI that is reportedly better geared to ease of use than most Linux offerings for netbooks.

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