Acer is waiting on the release of Intel's next low-voltage Pentium microprocessor, the 150MHz notebook-optimised chip, before announcing the final specifications of its high-end notebook PC the AcerNote Nuovo. Connie Chang, notebook marketing specialist for Acer Computer International in Taiwan, said a joint US-Taiwan design team had prepared Acer's high-end notebook initially with the 133MHz Pentium in mind. Demonstration models at Acer's Technology Show in Taipei included an 11.8-inch TFT (thin film transistor) screen but are likely to include an option for a 12.1-inch screen by September when the first Nuovo models should be available. Leading notebook vendors such as Digital, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard and Texas Instruments released 133MHz Pentium notebooks as early as March this year following Intel's volume chip release with the special chip mounting and low-voltage processor. However, those machines were all designed in 1995 with the 100MHz and eventually the 133MHz chips at their heart. A new long-life battery technology from Acer is what the Taiwanese giant hopes will give it an edge in marketing the Nuovo later this year. Ms Chang said the new lithium-ion batteries would offer a whole working shift's worth of power without a battery charge. 'It has what we call heuristic power management, a kind of intelligent power management that knows what to do to save power when certain software is running,' Ms Chang said. Acer claims it will offer up to 10 hours of battery life on one charge - with just one battery. It hopes to achieve a minimum of six hours for each charge. Acer's notebooks already have a degree of flexibility in battery sourcing, with the recently released AcerNote Light capable of using third party Duracell NiMh (nickel metal hydride) batteries. This results in a much cheaper battery supply because Duracell can supply notebook users in volume and individual notebook designers don't have to rely on stocking 'genuine OEM' battery packs to sell to users who require spare or back-up batteries. Ms Chang said Duracell did not at this stage support the lithium-ion battery pack used in the new AcerNote. The reduction in power consumption for this model is achieved with what Acer claims is a metal chassis design which dissipates heat from the Pentium microprocessor without the need for a cooling fan - standard kit in most Pentium notebooks. The Nuovo also features a tilting keyboard. Many notebooks offer a pair of back legs, which allow the user to prop up the casing of the entire machine but Acer has decided a hinge or two on the keyboard is an interesting option in the name of ergonomics. Acer has dispensed with the trackball and the trackpoint-type cursor control for this Nuovo model, instead opting for the trackpad, first popularised by Apple last year when the device was phased in on the PowerBook line. 'It saves a lot of space and is becoming a lot more popular with the notebook users,' Ms Chang said. Like most of the new Pentium high-end notebooks coming out this year, Acer has paid attention to maximising the output of the graphics subsystem to take advantage of the high-quality LCD screens and improving system memory to make this a desktop-equivalent product. S3, Chips & Technologies and Cirrus Logic are all gearing up with new graphics accelerators especially for the notebook market and it is expected the PCI bus 128-bit accelerators will be standard on all notebooks by the end of the year. The memory banks are expandable to 64Mb and come standard with EDO or Burst EDO DRam, depending upon the choice of machine within the Nuovo range. The new machines will be equipped with an internal 28.8kbps DSVD (digital simultaneous voice and data) data/fax modem and should sell for US$4,000.