Despite the first generation of Chromebooks being received with caution by the wide public (and that’s putting it mildly), Google didn’t back out from the project and recently released a new series of Chrome OS powered laptops.

The refreshed Samsung Chromebooks seemed to be doing much finer than their predecessors, so it was only a matter of time until we saw Acer get back in the game too. Now we can almost confirm that a follow-up to last year’s AC700 is due, most likely by the end of the year.

A set of high-quality pics has been leaked starring this new mysterious Chromebook, but it’s a bit too early to say anything other than it looks “interesting”. The new laptop might be called AC710, according to “sources”, and shares a lot of common design points with both the AC700, but also the Aspire A5 Windows 7 notebook.

The keyboard is somewhat different than that of the AC700 chromebook, using the same chiclet or island-style layout, but looking a tad more elegant and classy. Two almost identical hinges are used to keep the display attached to the base, and if I were to guess, I’d say that the diagonal size is again of 11.6-inches.

The “acer” logo on the back is a bit more prominent than before and placed in the center, while in a corner there’s a new “chrome” mark that, honestly, makes the laptop a bit more distinguished (and Acer look like it’s not ashamed of what OS this is running). As for the color scheme, the simple yet elegant matte black seems to have been kept in place.

As you can imagine, there’s very little we know about the new Chromebook in terms of specs, pricing and availability. However, the source of the photos says that it’s unlikely for Acer to be going down the same road as Samsung and replace the Intel Atom processor with an Arm-based CPU.

Other than that, we would certainly expect a couple of performance bumps here and there, though it’s hard to guess their “magnitude”. As a reminder, the Acer AC700 came with a 1,366 x 768 pixels resolution 11.6-inch display, a dual-core 1.66 GHz Intel Atom processor, 2 GB of RAM, a 16 GB SSD, an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3150 GPU, Wi-Fi, HDMI, two USB ports, Bluetooth 3.0, optional 3G, and a 4,400 mAh battery.

Any specific features you expect to be upgraded with this new Chromebook? How about the price, should Acer try to undercut Samsung or make this available at around $250-300 too?

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