updated 11:10 am EDT, Thu May 15, 2008
Acer Ships Gemstone Blue
Acer on Thursday morning said it has started shipping its Gemstone Blue notebooks first announced in March. The systems are Acer's first real visual overhaul of its notebooks since the original Gemstone a year ago but draw the most attention for their unique displays: both the 16-inch Aspire 6920 and the 18.4-inch Aspire 8920 use a 16:9 wide aspect ratio that lets them display 1080p content without black bars, including HD movies played back from the Aspires' optional Blu-ray drives.
Each is also labeled as a media center with a touch-sensitive media controller to the left of the keyboard and a 2.1-channel speaker system that can simulate Dolby 5.1 surround.
The actual launch firms up the specifications beyond the displays. Both systems start with a 2.6GHz Core 2 Duo, GeForce 9500M GS video with HDMI out, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and an 8X DVD burner; either the Blu-ray option and up to 320GB of hard drive space, while the larger Aspire 8920 has the choice of a second hard drive as well as an upgrade to GeForce 9650M GS graphics.
Acer doesn't list all sub-variants of the systems, but says the Aspire 6920 and 8920 start at $849 and $1,299 respectively.