After its acquisition by the Acer Group last year, Packard Bell has announced a relaunch with the emphasis on style. Trading on the slogan Puredesire, it has also equipped itself with a new logo, promoting the use of its initials PB, and an all-red colour slant in its marketing.
At the press event in Kensington, London, Packard Bell revealed its new lines of notebooks, plus new desktop PC ranges.
For the first time in the UK, Packard Bell will be bringing in its netbook range, now comprising the dot m and dot s models, with 10.1in and 11.6in screens.
While the smaller dot m offers few surprises in its configuration (Windows XP Home, Intel Atom, 160GB hard disk), the dot s is optionally available with an AMD Athlon processor.
This leaves Packard Bell free to go beyond the 1GB RAM limit imposed on systems sold with Intel Atom processors, and additionally lifts the restriction of a Windows XP-only operating system from Microsoft for netbooks. Instead the AMD version will feature Windows Vista.
These netbooks are said to be available in July with estimated prices starting at £279 for the dot m and £349 for the dot s.
Standing at the top of the new notebook range is the EasyNote TR85, described by PB as a "piece of art" thanks to its styling from a partnership with Italian design studio Pininfarina. With prices starting at £599, the TR85 features a 15.6in 16:9 reflective glass display, slot-load optical drive, and "sound ramp" speakers licensed from Dolby, which create a curve between the keyboard and screen.
A multi-gesture touchpad inspired by Apple's designs is designed to respond to "pinch" zooming and "flick" webpage gestures. As with previous Packard Bell notebook models, the TR85 will include capacitive touch-sensitive controls, which will now control PowerSave, backup and Touchpad lock features, as well as wireless and sound adjustments.
Answering one of the main criticisms of all notebooks, the Packard Bell EasyNote Butterfly s corresponds with Acer's new Timeline series by boasting "one working-day battery life". The Butterfly s includes optional switchable graphics card mode, solid-state drive, low-power LED display and ultra-low voltage CPU, to give an advertised battery life of 8 hours.
Other new notebook models include the EasyNote NJ, TJ and LJ Series, in sizes from 14in to 17.3in screens. Full specifications are yet to be announced.
In the new Packard Bell desktop, a notable addition is the imax mini. Based heavily on the Acer Revo, it uses the same chassis and components, including an Intel Atom processor and nVidia 9400M graphics processor, collectively known as the nVidia Ion platform.
"The difference will not come from technology alone any more, it must come from emotion," said Hugues Gontier, Marketing & Communications Director, discussing the importance of the style angle on Packard Bell's re-positioning as a lifestyle brand.
"The PB brand needs to be cool, to express freshness - although we do not expect our designers to just smoke grass and come up with crazy ideas" he added.