PC makers, stores look to cash in on Windows 7 hype

PC makers will ship new laptops on Thursday to coincide with the release of Microsoft's Windows 7 in an effort to drum up excitement around the new OS.

Many have called Windows 7 the best and fastest operating system from Microsoft since Windows XP. PC makers intend to cash in on the hype surrounding the OS and improvements that include a snappier user interface, touchscreen support and better graphics capabilities.

A few PCs that will ship on Thursday include unique features that take advantage of those features, including a 3D laptop from Acer and a touchscreen PC from Hewlett-Packard. Lenovo will ship new laptops for small and medium-sized businesses looking to upgrade from the Vista OS.

There are also some interesting deals being offered by stores in the U.S. Best Buy is offering what it calls a "PC home makeover" , which bundles a desktop, netbook, laptop, monitor and networking equipment for US$1,199.

"For the price of one average Mac, you can outfit your entire family with three great Windows 7 PCs and a home network," said Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc in a on the Windows Team Blog site. Price notwithstanding, Microsoft's pitch may not move dedicated fans of Apple, which is known for its unique Mac designs and strong customer support.

Nevertheless, some new PCs try to get a leg up on the Macs. Acer's Aspire 5738DG can display movies and games in 3D while allowing everyday applications to appear in their usual 2D format. The laptop has a 15.6-inch screen with a special 3D coating, as well as software and special glasses from a company called TriDef to enable the 3D experience. The laptop, a desktop replacement running on Intel Core 2 Duo processors, delivers images "that literally pop from the screen," according to Acer.