Acer announces all-in-one desktop

Ramping up its commercial PC product offerings, Acer has added two notebooks and a modular PC to its lineup, announcing the TravelMate 200, 350 and a new range of commercial desktops.

The Veriton series of PCs is designed with security and form factor in mind. The series includes the 5100 and 7100, but by far the most interesting model is the Veriton FP2 - an all-in-one design with a detachable TFT LCD monitor, hot-swappable drives and series-wide frontal USB ports.

"We wanted to evolve to the next level of the desktop," Acer's commercial PC product manager Jerel Chong said of the new offerings. "There is still a need for the traditional desktop but we wanted to make the series more user-centric."

The computers feature a redesigned keyboard with programmable hot-keys as well as a host of security features, such as intrusion alarms built into the housing which send a signal to the LAN or IT manager if someone tampers with the computer.

The FP2 will retail for $4599 and will be available in November. While it is targeted at companies and workgroups, the 5100 and 7100 have been designed for small and medium enterprises. They are available to dealers now.

The vendor also announced two new TravelMate notebooks - the 200 and 350.

Targeted at the home user, the TravelMate 200 uses a Celeron 550 MHz processor and includes a built-in modem, two USB ports and video support through an optional camera.

"It is one of the few notebooks in its class to offer upgradability which makes it easier for our partners to sell as a value add, and which I think will differentiate it from other vendor offerings," said Antonio Leone, product manager for portable PCs.

The higher end 350 is the first to feature a built-in smartcard reader. Primarily a security device, the card can be used for encryption and saving credit card details or the log-in details of Web sites. It can also be used to lock down the notebook.

The 350 features Intel's Pentium III 650MHz CPU, and can also connect to Acer's optional Easylink external combination drive or to the optional add port replicator.

"These are also used with the TravelMate 520 and 600 series, so there is a commonality of peripherals, which means easier manageability," Leone said.

Acer hopes to ship the notebook with Bluetooth and Wireless LAN capability in the near future.

The TravelMate 350 will ship early this month. This week, the company will begin its advertising campaign.

Acer recently slashed its global profit and revenue forecasts for the full year, citing weakening global PC demand.

The company now expects to report an after-tax profit of about $US246 million.

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