After flood of pictures, are any surprises left?

With pictures leaked online, there are not likely to be many surprises at the Computex trade show.

Ultraportable laptops will be a major focus at the upcoming Computex exhibition in Taipei, but a flood of pictures released online in recent weeks have spilled the beans for many companies, revealing key details of the most anticipated systems.

The most recent laptop to get outed is Acer's Aspire On. Pictures of the small laptop appeared online Thursday. Clad in a glossy white case, with what appears to be a 9-inch screen framed by black, the small laptop has an Acer logo on the lid and above the monitor. The words "Aspire One" are written in grey below the what appears to a full-size keyboard.

The Acer laptop is running an unidentified operating system that could be a Linux distribution. If the laptop does ship with Linux, it likely won't be the only option. The laptop's keyboard has a Windows key, which indicates Windows XP might be an option.

Inspired by the success of Asustek Computer's Eee PC — which was unveiled at last year's Computex show — hardware makers are set to release similar machines based on the Diamondville version of Intel's Atom processor. The Atom, which is designed to be inexpensive and consume little power, will be released at Computex alongside systems using the chip.

Of course, pictures can't tell the whole story. For example, the pictures of the Aspire One show a built-in camera above the screen and the company has previously discussed plans for a Diamondville laptop, but the images offer no indication of what other components lie inside the case.

Perhaps the worst-kept secret among Atom-based laptops is Micro-Star International's (MSI's) Wind, which has a 10-inch screen and will be available with either Windows XP or Linux.

MSI released details of the Wind in a press release dated April 18, nearly six weeks before the planned Diamondville launch. The announcement didn't say the laptop is based on Diamondville, but it didn't have to — that detail had already been disclosed at the Intel Developer Forum.

Within days of the Wind announcement, a video (since removed) appeared on YouTube showing two Turkish hardware reviewers playing with a Wind prototype. The video left few details of the laptop to the imagination, and screenshots were widely posted by bloggers.

Asustek also tipped its hand before Computex, with pictures of a revamped Eee PC appearing on a French blog, prompting speculation this could be the Atom version of the popular laptop.

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Sumner Lemon

IDG News Service

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