Acer is expected to announce a new version of the Aspire One netbook with a 10.1 inch screen any day now. In addition to the larger screen, the new model will have an improved touchpad with a single mouse button below the pad instead of pushed off to the sides. The machine will also reportedly get better battery life than existing models.

And that’s all great news. But DigiTimes reports that Acer is considering eliminating its 8.9 inch netbook line to make way for the new 10.1 inch models. And I think that’s a mistake. If the rumors are correct, the new models won’t be much larger or heavier than Acer’s current mini-laptops, they will weigh a little more and will take up slightly more space in your bag. And I’m going to go out on a limb and assume they’re also going to cost a bit more.

I think the smart move here would be to offer customers a choice of netbooks for at least a while. If there’s still strong demand for the 8.9 inch version, why not considering upgrading that model with a better battery, touchpad, or processor in the future? After all, the Acer Aspire One in its current configuration, is one of themost popular netbooks around and has helped Acer pick up some serious market share. Why mess with a good thing?

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17 replies on “Acer could kill its 8.9 inch netbook line”

  1. Acer will drop the 8.9″ Aspire One because they can mark up the 10.1″
    and raise their profit margins. I am certain they don’t want to compete
    against themselves offering a less profitable discounted version.
    Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the compactness of my 8.9″ Acer-
    in it’s leather carry case it passes for a datebook. But this is business-
    not personal- as I have heard to say.

  2. yeah acer cut the sh_t don’t be stupid mother__ckers!!! You beat asus with this netbook you would just be proving that you are another stupid tawainese manufacturer that doesn’t listen to its consumers if you did this. I will return the 8.9 inch aspire one I just bought 3 days ago if you do do this, bad move and I hope its not true.

  3. I think one reason for the AA1’s success is the simplicity of making and marketing just one model, and mass-producing and mass-marketing the heck out of it. This is bound to save money on overhead and personnel training.

    Asus, on the other hand, has manufactured motherboards around 20 years that I know of, and since MBs are constantly changing, this state of continually retooling and retraining is a way of life for them, but when it involves the total product, as in netbooks, it complicates marketing.

    This is just a thought–I know Acer makes other electronics and laptops as well, so in this senario I would have to be talking about just the AA1 division.

  4. Nearly the same size, nearly the same weight, nearly the same price. That’s “incrementalism”. The most likely reason has to do simply with profits. There is an expectation that 10″ netbooks will cost more than 8.9″ models. But the cost to manufacture is probably the same… maybe even less for the 10″ given the number of 10″ netbooks that are sold… economies of scale.

    Manufacturers are deathly afraid of a “race to the bottom”, and after an initial dip caused by Asus and their 701, specs and prices have been slowly and steadily rising.

    Acer and others run the risk of leaving an opening for cheap barebones netbooks that are quite capable of doing what netbooks should do. I predict that there will be a wave of $100-$150 WindowsCE-based netbooks become available. How long and how successful that wave will be is an unknown.

    Bottom line, this is a bad but not surprising move by Acer.

  5. They are too similar, there is no reason to keep both. Who is going to want the gimped touchpad with the improved one on the market? A negligible increase in weight and size yes, but almost unnoticeable, and you get a bit more battery life. Plus the One is not exactly expanding into an ordinary sub-notebook like other brands — its barely grown at all. The original One was already sized larger to accommodate a decent, even good, keyboard — that’s why it has such a wide bezel around the display. May as well start filling that space with a 10 inch display, especially if battery life isn’t suffering but is actually improving. And we’ll get integrated Bluetooth so I can dispense with the micro usb dongle. And they’re going to sell for $400 or less and undoubtedly will be marked down to match the current lineup within a few short months. I love my AAO-150, but it has had its day, the new and improved One is here.

    1. Ditto – too much overlap with the older, smaller screen unit. Interesting how Acer’s market philosophy regardig these netbooks is totally opposite to Asus’.

    2. I agree, it already has the room for a 10″ screen, if it comes out a half inch deeper and accommodates a better touchpad and does so at roughly the same price, it really makes no sense to keep the 8.9″.

      I love my 8.9″ as well, but if I can get a 10″ AAO in all black, I may just have to buy one… providing I can convince the wife… heh

  6. CES
    I was just thinking about teh fact that CES juste went on, and that is where buyers from around the world give their oppinions. Maybe the future orders and comments from the buyers were too strong to ignore. They could have been saying, “These 10″ units we’ll want those…no we won’t order very many of 8.9″ inch at all.”

  7. I agree – there is a creeping growth of Netbooks and they start to loose their no-hassle portability. I much prefer the 8.9 size for that reason. Naturally I want the bells and whistles too 🙂

    For me 10 or so inch would be a reluctant buy and 12 inch reaches the point where I would rather go for one of the smaller notebooks.

  8. Missing the point, maybe?

    If the 8.9″ model weights nearly the same and is nearly the same size what is the advantage of the smaller screen? Also, if the 10″ is slated to sell it might actually sell for not to much more.

    I have yet to see sales figures but it could be that despite good sales in the past year that sales have PERCIPTIOUSLY fallen off. If they see sales tapering dramatically and can see coloration with increased sales of 10″ systems by other then the smart move is to thin the line up and sell one unified Netbook system.

    In this economy you don’t have two models competing for the same buyers. If the two models had more differences maybe there would be a point, but they are so close in size and weigh that the clear advantage would be to sell the better/improved of the two units.

  9. Honestly I believe they should leave the 8.9 inch in place. This is the machine whyich allowed them to gain all the market share as stated above. With AAO’s one flaw (touchpad) it has still seem to out sale all other brands. So I am pleading with Acer to leave this little powerhouse in place. Besides I dont believe AAO’s user’s complained about wanting a larger size we only complained about the for mentioned touchpad. So how about making a 8.9 inch with a better touchpad. instead of making a larger model

  10. Word on the street is that the 8.9″ is already discontinued, and not available new from any of the main UK retailers. Sad day.

  11. With how the current One is selling, I think they’d be crazy to kill it.

    I do, however, think it would be wise of them to pair down the configurations. If they’re wanting to ease people into their new model, they should offer just one version of the 8.9″ AAO, with optimal specs.

    1. Likely they manufactured excess 8.9″ models then retooled for the 10″. Maintaining lots of production lines is costly in space and efficiency. Their marketing and management made the call on what they think will still sell in 2009 and went with it.

      I really suspect they noticed that the MSI wind is slightly more appealing and made a move to be more competitve with their next generation.

      Probably a new 10″ model is cheaper to manufacture than the current 8.9″ one.

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