Chromebooks were a hot item this holiday season, and it looks like PC makers will push that momentum further in 2015. Acer, the world’s second largest Chromebook seller according to stats from Gartner, hopes to woo more onto the web-based notebook platform with the world’s first 15.6-inch Chromebook, among other announcements for the new year.
The Acer Chromebook 15 has modest specs. It houses a fifth-gen Intel Celeron processor and features a 1920 x 1080 HD resolution display (buyers can alternatively opt for a cheaper 1366 x 768 resolution display). As for connectivity, it’s got 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE, along with USB 3.0, USB 2.0 and HDMI ports. Weighing in at 4.85 pounds, it promises eight hours of battery life.
While the availability date is TBD, the Chromebook 15 will start at a very reasonable $250 and come in 16 or 32 GB SSD variants with up to 4 GB of RAM. Acer also updated its smaller Chromebook 13 with a touchscreen display, but we’ll get more details about when that’s available at a later date.
Acer is also updating its Aspire V 17 Nitro Notebook PC series with Intel 3D cameras. The camera, composed of a traditional camera, an IR camera, and an IR laser projector, can interpret 3D movements so you can control the screen without ever having to touch a mouse or keyboard, and it can also act as a 3D scanner, which is useful for generating 3D models and for 3D printing. Acer has a couple of included programs that take advantage of these capabilities.
Other than this fancy front-facing shooter, the Aspire V 17 comes packed with a Core i7 processor, Nvidia GeForce graphics (with up to 4 GB of dedicated video RAM for super smooth gameplay), a 128GB or 256GB SSD, and up to 16 GB of memory. The notebook also includes a redesigned fan intended to be quieter, keep your PC cooler, and eliminate dust build-up. You can also opt for a Blu-Ray or DVD player on your machine. The Aspire V 17 Nitro goes on sale in January, price as yet unspecified.
And in the home theater arena, Acer’s also adding a new short-throw projector (the H7550ST) to its collection. It has a Chromecast built in, 2D to 3D conversion, and the ability to stream HD audio over Bluetooth to speakers or a headset. It’ll be available in March for $1,000.
We’ll get a chance to go hands-on with these new products (and many others) beginning Sunday at CES in Las Vegas.