Acer prepares MacBook Air rival, $769 Aspire 3951

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According to some leaked information, Acer plans to launch a new MacBook Air rival that follows Intel's Ultrabook guidelines. Due in October, the Aspire 3951 will feature 13.3-inch (presumably 1366x768) display, a second-generation Intel Core series processor (no specific chips are mentioned), and your choice of a 160GB flash storage or 250GB to 500GB of mechanical storage. There's also word of Bluetooth 4.0, HDMI, and a card reader, but no Thunderbolt.

The Aspire 3951 will last for about six hours per charge, have a 30-day standby, and will recover from sleep in as little as 1.7 seconds. We believe the speedy resume time will be limited to SSD-equipped models, but that isn't confirmed. Based on the latest information from Vietnamese tech site Sohoa, the aluminum-clad machine weighs 3.09lbs (1.4kg) and measures 0.51in (13mm) thick. Acer is expected to undercut Apple with pricing spanning from $769 to $961.

By comparison, the 13.3-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 with a 1440x900 display, a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with HD Graphics 3000 (no discrete graphics), 4GB of 1333MHz DDR3 RAM, a 128GB SSD, two USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot, a Thunderbolt port, Bluetooth 4.0, and a "FaceTime" camera. The system fetches up to seven hours of runtime alongside a 30-day standby, weighs 2.96lbs (1.35kg) and measures 0.68in (1.7cm) at its thickest point.

Ultrabooks have earned their share of headlines lately. Last month DigiTimes reported that Intel is paying first-tier notebook vendors to develop Ultrabooks. Two weeks ago, we heard that some partners are struggling to meet the sub-$1,000 target price, including Asus with its upcoming UX21, forcing them to downgrade components. Meanwhile, Acer founder Stan Shih denounced tablets and Ultrabooks as short-term fads -- albeit fads that Acer hopes to make bank on.

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