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Acer refreshes laptops and 2-in-1s with fingerprint readers

by Mark Tyson on 27 May 2016, 13:31

Tags: Acer (TPE:2353)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qac3bc

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Acer has unveiled a range of new laptops and 2-in-1s, all featuring fingerprint readers, ahead of the Computex 2016 exhibition. Microsoft's Windows 10 embraces biometric security with Windows Hello, allowing users to conveniently and securely sign into devices, making a built-in fingerprint reader an attractive addition. Such added security and convenience doesn't have to cost a lot extra, as Acer demonstrates with this range starting at $199. At the time we don't have full specifications of these devices such as exact processors used, RAM and storage capacities.

Acer's Switch One 10 is a budget-friendly 2-in-1 tablet convertible. This machine is based upon the quad-core Cherry Trail Intel Atom processors for a good balance between performance, battery life, and cost. The display on this device is described as 'HD' but uses an IPS panel for wide viewing angles. Users benefit from dual cameras, a precision touchpad, multi-mode operation and up to 8 hours of battery life.

The Acer Switch One 10, pictured above, will become available from July, in black, white, red, and peacock or navy blue, priced starting at $199.

The new Acer Switch V 10 2-in-1 integrated a USB Type-C port to facilitate "fast data transfer, high-resolution video output and convenient charging," says the Microsoft Windows Experience blog. Other key features of this Cherry Trail powered 2-in-1 include; a 10.1-inch IPS touch display protected by Gorilla Glass, up to 9 hours of battery life, dual-cameras, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and a precision touchpad. As you can see in the photos above, the Switch V detachable hinge mechanism allows for all sorts of usage scenarios.

Acer will make the Switch V 10 later this year, in the colours shown above, starting at $249.

Last but not least Acer announced the new TravelMate P2 series, pictured below. The series includes the TravelMate P249 and TravelMate P259 with 14-inch and 15-inch Full HD screens. These are much more powerful than the above 2-in-1s as they come equipped with Intel's 6th gen Core CPUs, DDR4 RAM, and Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics.

Augmenting the aforementioned fingerprint security Acer equips Trusted Platform Module (TPM2.0) hardware-based encryption keys to help secure your data, e-mail, and user credentials plus Acer ProShield authentication and security software.

Acer will make the new TravelMate P2 series available starting later this year, priced from $599.



HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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My only reservation about this (apart from, personally, refusing to use Win10) is that MS are a bit coy about exactly what data they send to themselves.

Does any of the data Windows Hello collects ever leave my device, and if so, how is it transmitted?

Your identification data – the representation of your face, iris or fingerprint that's created when you enrol – never leaves your device. To help us keep things working properly, to help detect and prevent fraud, and to continue to make improvements, Microsoft collects usage data such as which method you used to sign in (face, iris, fingerprint or PIN), the number of times you signed in, and whether or not each sign-in was successful. This data is stripped of any information that could be used to specifically identify you, and it's encrypted before it's transmitted to Microsoft.

Okay, so breaking that down ….

- actual biometric ID data, like iris scan, fingerprint or facial photos, are NEVER stored, anywhere. That's good.

- when you enrol, a “representation” of this data is stored, on the device, encrypted.

- the original biometric data cannot be recreated from the “representation”. This is analagous to our password pricess here. Your password is not stored but a ‘hash’ of it is, and the password (with a very specific exception, sort-of) cannot be recreated from the hash. So, that's good too.

- MS do transmit and store a sort-of metadata about your sign-on activity. They specify examples of that, by the use of “such as” but do not provide an exhaustive list of what they store. Hmmm, not so good. Not necessarily bad, but …. suspicious.

- MS strip such data of anything that can be used to “specifically” identify you. Hmmm. More evasive wording. This sounds a bit like differentiating between personal information that, on it's own, identifies you and data that, when combined with other data (which, perhaps, they happen to own) can be used. That is, identifiable, rather than identifying.

- There appears to be no way to disable the transmission of such data, should you wish to.


That whole explanation of what data is sent seems to me to be deliberately vague to the point of being suspicious. It reminds me of what an estate agent (before laws changed) meant when he advertised a property as ‘compact’ (tiny beyond belief) or ‘DIY opportunity’ (falling down, so don't sneeze until after sale completion). It reeks of being very carefully written to convey one impression on a casual reading, while being capable of being interpreted very differently if anyone ever hauls it before a judge.

So really, it comes down to how much you trust MS. In my case, about as much as I'd trust an unreconstructed and unrepentent serially-convicted burglar with my house keys, alarm codes and holiday dates. Actually, I take that back. Less than I trust the burglar. ;) :D


This, by the way, is a mistrust of MS, not Acer.
Windows Hello is not that secure. Particularly the way it forces you to set up a pin before you can use biometrics to log in. Ok great, now all someone needs to do is brute force a ‘password’ comprised of entirely numbers..