Even though Acer’s Aspire one has been a global hit, its sub brand Gateway wants in on the netbook pie. Though the Gateway netbook’s availability won’t be widespread customers after a Gateway branded mini-notebook can pick one up at Office Depot brick and mortar stores or on the Home Shopping Network. Apparently HSN’s Gateway Joe will only be offering a limited supply. After reading that the an Engadget tipster had seen the LT1004U selling at Office Depot, we paid a visit to out local branch and found a display unit sitting on the shelf right next to an identically-configured Acer Aspire One. Looking at the two systems next to each other, it was clear that the Gateway is nothing more than rebranded version of its Acer sibling. Both sport identical Atom N270 1.6-GHz CPUs, 1GB of RAM, 160GB hard drives, 8.9-inch screens, and 3-cell batteries. The only differences are minor and cosmetic: the LT1004U has a gray and silver color scheme, a felt palm rest, and a Gateway logo on the back of the lid. The color scheme does make the Gateway look a little bit more solid and sleek, but does it justify the $30 difference in price between the $349 Office Depot is charging for the Aspire One and the $379 it is asking for the LT1004U? Perhaps the retailer doesn’t really want to move any of its LT1004Us. For some reason, when we flagged down a salesman and told him we wanted to purchase the LT1004U, he did everything in his power to try to convince us not to buy it. “Are you sure you really want this,” he asked, before telling us that it “has no CD drive” and it has “only 512MB of RAM” (this was inaccurate as it actually has 1GB). When we said “that’s ok. We want it anyway, ” our salesman also said it was “filled with crapware, but we can get rid of that for you,” presumably for a price. We politely said that we wanted the system as is and waited a few minutes for our salesman to retrieve it from the back. He came back a few minutes later to tell us that they didn’t have any in-stock, despite the fact that there were no less than 10 merchandise slips behind the price tag. He suggested we get the Acer Aspire One as “it’s the same thing,” but we said we’d try again tomorrow. Considering that Acer, which owns Gateway, is only releasing the LT1004U at Office Depot and at HSN, we have to wonder how badly the manufacturer wants to sell these netbooks. Our question is this. If you don’t want people to buy it, why bother releasing it?