Asus created a new category of portable computers last year when it unveiled the Eee PC-the first of the much ballyhooed netbooks. What started as a bit of a cash-in on the hype surrounding the altruistic OLPC project has grown into a pretty attractive little business. Asus has since filled this category to the brim with a variety of Eee models designed to appeal to an ever-wider audience. As Asus seeks to consolidate its position as the netbook market leader, its rivals are crashing the party hoping to get a slice of the pie before Asus hoards it all.
Chief among those rivals is Acer, whose new value-priced Aspire One netbook is springing up at almost every retailer that has an interest in computers. At this rate you'll probably be able to buy one at your local gas station before long, and it might even be cheaper than a full tank of gas by then. Retailers like a product with buzz, and here the One has the successful Eee PC's coat tails to ride in on. Unlike some of the more recent entries in the netbook market, the One is quite affordable, allowing retailers to lure in shoppers during the busy back-to-school season.
Acer recently cut its netbook prices, and the One is now turning up at a lot of resellers for as little as $329. To the untrained eye that looks like a heck of a bargain for a system with an Atom processor, a 1024x600 display, and solid-state storage. Read on to find out if it is.