If you’d asked me a few months ago which new netbook features we’d start to see in 2009 I probably would have said touchscreen displays, faster processors, and alternate operating systems including Google Android. But we’re almost halfway through the year and while the touchscreen Asus Eee PC T91 is due out any day now, the only two touchscreen netbooks available are the the Gigabyte Touch Note and laptops based on the Intel Classmate PC design. Processors haven’t gotten much faster (yet) and Google Android netbooks are still in the early works. But you know what is taking off this year? Higher resolution netbook displays.
The HP Mini 2140 and Dell Inspiron Mini 10 are already available with high resolution 10 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel screens. And now Macles reports that Acer is preparing a new Aspire One 571 with a 10.1 inch 1280 x 720 display. To help with decoding H.264 and high definition video, the mini-laptop features a Quartics Q1721 multimedia coprocessor which handles hardware decoding and encoding of H.264 and several other codecs.
Macles also reports that Acer has taken a rather baffling step of including an unusual optical disc drive that supports Vmedia, which are kind of like tiny Blu-Ray discs which can hold about 1GB of data.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that the Acer spire One 571 will cost at least a few bucks more than most Acer netbooks thanks to that optical disc drive, HD media coprocessor, and high resolution display. But there’s no official word on pricing or availability yet.