Report: Acer prepping $399 Win8 notebook with touch

If you know where to look, you can already find some pretty inexpensive Windows 8 notebooks with touch screens. There's the Asus VivoBook X202E we reviewed a few months ago, for instance; it's now available for just $499.99 shipped at Newegg..

That's nothing compared to what may be on the way, though. Quoting sources in the supply chain, DigiTimes says an Acer notebook with an 11.6" touch screen will come out later this month—and it will be priced at an eye-poppingly affordable $399.

Sadly, there's no word on specs or the like. DigiTimes only mentions a couple of things that helped Acer hit the lower price point: Microsoft's Windows 8 discounts for 11.6" and smaller systems, and the use of Winstron glass instead of Gorilla Glass. Reportedly, the Winstron material isn't as tough as Gorilla Glass, but it costs 10% less. Since the screen is unlikely to receive as much punishment as a tablet display, the durability difference may not matter much. Indeed, DigiTimes' sources claim Winstron glass "receives broad adoption in notebook products."

If Acer plays its cards right, this $400 notebook could help pry folks from their aging Windows 7 (or, heaven forbid, Windows XP) notebooks. Windows 8 is all about touch, after all. I don't think consumers are too excited about non-touch machines that run the new OS.

That said, compromises are always needed to hit bargain-basement price tags. The $500 VivoBook X202E is held back by single-channel memory and sluggish mechanical storage, and its screen has a mediocre TN panel with poor viewing angles. If Acer is shooting for an even lower price, it may not do any better.

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