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Acer and Lenovo both introduced new nettop PCs this week, with Acer’s aimed
at business users and sold through the company’s reseller channel and Lenovo’s
aimed at the digital home with Nvidia-based graphics capabilities onboard
enabling HD video.

The nettops from both companies, priced in the sub-$400 range, are built with
Intel Atom processors. They are the PC desktop version of netbooks—scaled-down
laptops powered by Intel Atom processors. But can nettops, which lack high-end
dual-core processors, really make a dent in the commercial market?

“This is an intriguing product in that it appears to be adequate for most
workplace tasks at a fraction of the price of a fully equipped PC,” says
Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. “Plus, it offers energy
efficiency/savings close to what’s claimed by many thin-client vendors without
asking businesses or employees to give up traditional desktop computers.”

Energy savings was recently
identified as a priority
by small businesses and midmarket businesses
that are more carefully scrutinizing budgets.

An Acer spokeswoman says Acer’s Veriton N260G-U2802CP is aimed at any
business that has limits on space such as office reception areas, libraries,
schools or airline check-in kiosks. But King believes the nettop’s appeal could
play across a wide swath of business applications and verticals. It may even
find a niche with knowledge workers, he says.

“If there’s a niche for this product, it’s among knowledge workers who really
don’t need the power of full-blown PCs,” he says. “There are millions of those
folks in the work force, and I also expect their employers will find Acer’s
price extremely attractive.”

The Acer Veriton N260G-U2802CP starts at $399 and is now available in North
America via Acer authorized resellers.

It includes the Intel Atom processor N280, the Intel GN40 Express Chipset,
Windows XP Professional, Recovery CD with Windows Vista Business, 2GB DDR2
SDRAM, two memory slots upgradable to 2GB, 160GB SATA hard drive, Intel
Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M, Multi-In-One card reader, six USB
2.0 ports, an HDMI port, PCI Express Mini 1.1×1 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi
802.11b/g/draft N, a PS2 keyboard, a USB
optical mouse and a one-year limited warranty.

Lenovo’s two new nettop devices, announced as part of a series of products for
the digital home, offer onboard Nvidia ION
graphics that support HD video, according to the company.

The IdeaCentre Q100 and Q110 are just 0.7 inches thick and are priced starting
at $249 and $349, well below the price of a standard PC desktop.

Several other players in the PC space have nettop entries as well, King points
out, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard.