To no one's great surprise, laptop maker Acer has joined the throng and announced the Acer Aspire One - an Intel Atom processor-based mini laptop.

The 8.9in Acer Aspire One will be available in either Linux or Windows XP Home versions and will start from £199. The Linpus Linux version will go onsale first and is likely to be available in the UK from the end of June.

The Linux model with come with Linpus Linux Lite and both laptop versions will be available with either 512MB or 1GB of DDR RAM. Interestingly, Acer has chosen to offer both a traditional hard disk version and a Nand Flash memory SSD (solid state disk) drive.

This allows users to opt for either incredible light weight and a more robust design with no moving parts but only 8GB of storage space or a run-of-the-mill hard disk-based laptop with a more acceptable 80GB capacity. A 5-in-1 card reader will boost storage. The Flash media card formats supported will be MMC, SD Card, xD Picture Card, MemoryStick and MemoryStick PRO.

Acer says the additional memory afforded by inserting a Secure Digital Flash memory card into the second SD Card slot will be "instantly and seamlessly merged" by the Smart File Manager app so the laptop sees the extra gigabytes as available onboard memory. SD Card Flash memory is the most popular of the format types and is both the least expensive and available in the highest capacities.

The Acer Aspire will come in a single screen size - the 8.9in display will have a resolution of 1,024x600 pixels.
It will come with either 3G or WiMax as well as 802.11 b and g Wi-Fi so users will be able to get online almost anywhere.

The Acer Aspire One weighs under 1kg and measures 24cm wide and 7cm from back to front. Acer says its battery will last for around 6 hours between charges.

Acer includes a copy of OpenOffice 2.3 with the Linux version of the Aspire One, or a trial of Microsoft Office with the Windows version.

It will be available in four different colour options: blue, white, coral pink or golden brown.

Acer Aspire One Intel Atom-based mini laptop

Acer Aspire One Intel Atom-based mini laptop