Acer's never had an international press conference in New York before, but there's a first time for everything, and the company used the occasion to launch the second generation Gemstone laptops. Coming in a special blue ("Gemstone Blue," how wild), the new 16- and 18.4-inch machines feature 16:9 1080p screens, 1.5GHz Penryn processors, 512MB NVIDIA 9650m GS graphics, and those Blu-ray drives we heard about. The graphics chip is at the center of Acer's new CineReal system, which offloads BD playback to the GPU and provides Dolby headphone output (and real 5.1 sound on the bigger model). Battery life is estimated at 2.5 hours on the 16-inch and three hours on the 18.4, but what's really impressive here is the pricing: starting at $900 and up, with decently spec'd configs hitting around $1,700. Should be shipping in a month or so, according to Acer. Two more pics after the break.

Acer unveils the second-gen Gemstone

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Acer unveils the second-gen Gemstone