I received an email today from Acer, regarding the stories floating around the net about a recent battery mishap. If you recall, what essentially happened is that many people reviewing the 10-inch Aspire One found themselves blessed with a 5800mAh battery, whereas the actual unit shipped with a smaller capacity 4400mAh battery by default. You could see where the confusion could come in, with reviewers seeing one spec for battery life and end users actually getting another. Acer did mention post-shipments that the units which received 5800mAh batteries were an exception, saying it was a mistake.
Now, the company has clarified that situation via email. According to them, the larger capacity batteries are merely a result of part availability. With all their shipments, they say, in the event of any hardware shortage, a component may be substituted for a more expensive piece. The email details that they do this in order to keep the same SKU and pricing, without having to worry about part availability. Acer also said that in the event any component is actually downgraded from what the spec is, a new SKU would be created.
In short, it doesn't seem like Acer was up to any wrongdoing, and indeed they do pitch the 10-inch Acer Aspire One as a device that has a 4400mAh battery. You can read the full email after the jump.
I'd like to clear some confusion on our new 10.1-inch Acer Aspire One, which just became available in the U.S. this week. We are marketing the Aspire One AOD150 with either a three- or six-cell 4400mAH lithium-ion battery; however, the first six-cell units are shipping with an upgraded 5800mAH lithium-ion battery, based on inventory availability. Consumers who receive the upgraded battery will see an increase in the product's battery life, at no additional charge. These sorts of part replacements are done occasionally with commodity components, but any time a product spec is changed, it always benefits the customer. For example, we may market a product and set pricing based on an 80GB hard drive, but if there are supply issues, we could potentially upgrade consumers to a larger 120GB hard drive without changing the SKU number or pricing. On the other hand, if we had the need to downgrade a product's feature set for some reason, we would create a new SKU number and set a new reduced price.
Because our first press evaluation units came from the initial production run, we inadvertently shipped four units with the upgraded battery out to reviewers. We were alerted to the discrepancy prior to Monday's announcement, and proactively informed all of these reviewers before their stories were published this week. All of these reviews noted the battery discrepancy, and they are awaiting replacement batteries before making a final verdict on the product.