Holding an event at the fashionable Hilton Metropole, Acer was keen to put its latest products in the shop window. TR swoops down to have a gander.
Finished with notebooks, Acer then moved onto PDAs. It began with the n35, a PDA with embedded 12 channel GPS receiver. Reasonably compact at 120 x 72 x 40mm (L x W x H) and 165g, the n35 runs off a 266MHz Samsung S3C2410 processor with expandable 32MB flash ROM and 64MB RAM.
Designed to be a complete car navigation system, the n35 includes car charger and holder as well as a 256MB SD Card with pre-loaded maps and embedded Destinator Three Personal Navigation System Software aimed to allow the customer to use it out of the box.
The n35 is equipped with 32MB to store your preferred country and personal data which can be expanded with SD Memory cards if required. A reasonably large 3.5in, 65k, 240 x 320 pixel display works in conjunction with what Acer describes as a “high volume speaker” for visible and audible instructions. Battery life is quoted at eight hours while the provided OS is Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Premium Edition that comes with Pocket Outlook, Word and Excel.
The n35 has a two year mail-in warranty and an RRP of £249 including VAT.
Last announcements of the day were the n50 (above and below) and n50 Premium PDAs. The hook to both of these products is that they feature what Acer brands “Dual Wireless”, that is 802.11b WLAN and Bluetooth v1.2. Running Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition means that the n50 and n50 Premium also carry support for the WiFi Protected Access (WPA) security protocol.
Differences between the two machines comes largely in two areas, processor and memory. In the n50 the Intel PXA272 processor runs at 312MHz, while the n50 Premium is clocked at speeds of 520MHz. As far as memory goes, there is 64MB on the n50 and 128MB on the n50 Premium coupled with 64MB flash ROM. If this isn’t enough dual expansion slots are provided (Compact Flash Type II and Secure Digital input/output) on both. Despite the hardware differences battery life is quoted on the n50 and n50 Premium as a matching eight hours.
Moving onto connectivity, each machine has integrated USB, but disappointingly only USB1.1. Like the n35, both screens are 3.5in, 65k and 240 x 320 pixel (QVGA) resolution. Navigation is via four quick launch buttons and a five way joystick.
Interestingly, because both models have integrated speakers and a microphone in addition to WLAN Acer is promoted the PDAs as a perfect platform for VoIP. How it would work talking into a PDA, or perhaps plugging in a headset on a daily basis remains to be seen, but it is certainly a possibility until WLAN becomes a standard feature in mobile phones like the UCP-100 previewed at 3GSM. That said, at just 120 x 70 x 17mm (L x W x H) and 150g, neither the n50 or n50 Premium are much larger than a current 3G handset.
RRPS for the n50 and n50 Premium are £229 and £249 including VAT respectively. The two year mail-in warranty on the n50 and n50 Premium matches the n35 and all models should be available by early March.