Acer Readies Tablet, Smartphone Launches

By Doug Olenick On Dec 6 2010 - 6:01am




NEW YORK — Acer unveiled the company’s first smartphone and tablets along with other new hardware and software products.

The products include two Wi-Fi/3G-equipped Android tablets, a Wi-Fi 3G-equipped Windows tablet and an Android-based combination smartphone/tablet. Other announcements included a dual-LCD laptop, a home media system, the company’s Clear.fi media-sharing application and its Acer Alive online media store.

Acer officially took the wraps off four tablets that were hinted at by company president/CEO Gianfranco Lanci in late October.

The tablet line, as yet unnamed, contains two 10.1-inch models intended for use in the home or office, a 7-inch model designed for mobile use, and a 4.8-inch combination smartphone/ tablet. Acer executives did not say if they were partnering with a specific cellular carrier.

One 10.1-inch tablet is a convertible model running Windows 7. It’s expected to ship in February 2011. It features an optional docking station that contains a full-size keyboard. It connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi or 3G and has two 1.3-megapixel digital cameras, one on each side of the device. Acer will equip it with an as-yet-unnamed next-generation AMD processor. Pricing has not been set.

The second 10.1-inch tablet uses the Android operating system and features a built-in HDMI port with 1080p capability. It has 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Acer is positioning this tablet as a potential gaming platform with a 10-point multitouch display and gyro meter for better gaming control. It will ship in April 2011. Pricing wasn’t set.

Two additional Android devices will ship in April 2011. The 7-inch is a more mobile version of its larger tablet cousins, while the 5-inch model is touted as a smartphone/ tablet. Jim Wong, Acer’s senior corporate VP, said all the tablets access the full versions of web sites, not just mobile versions of websites.

The 4.8-inch smartphone/tablet’s display has a 21:9 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1,024 by 480 pixels and is 64mm thick. There is an 8-megapixel digital camera with LED flash. The unit is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor capable of a running movie or playing games, Acer said.

The 7-inch model features an asyet- unspecified dual-core processor with Adobe Flash Player 10.1 support, Dolby Mobile Technology and DLNA support. Pricing and additional details were not available.

The dual-screen Iconia laptop features two LED-backlit 14-inch LCDs with 1,366 by 768 resolution. Both are multitouch-capable and can recognize up to 10 fingers at one time. The screens are scratch- and fingerprint-resistant, the company said. The device unfolds like a typical notebook, with the lower display being used as either a keyboard or to access the computers content.

The keyboard automatically activates when the user places 10 fingers on the display. When five fingers are placed, a user interface called the Acer Ring appears. The Ring is a virtual wheel that appears on the display to access the computers content.

An Acer spokesman said the device currently offers about three hours of battery life and weighs about 6.5 pounds. The Iconia runs on an Intel Core i5 processor, holds up to 4GB of DDR3 SDRAM 1GHz memory, features Intel HD graphics with 128MB of dedicated memory, and runs Microsoft’s Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit operating system.

Lanci said this Iconia model is the first in what it expects to be a family of similar devices. He did admit the dual-screen laptop was likely to appeal mainly to early adopters, but he said the company was determined to help shape this new category.

The Iconia is expected to ship early next year at an unannounced price.

For media sharing, the company introduced the Clear.fi media-sharing application, which enables all varieties of content to be accessible across a person’s Clear.fi-enabled devices. Wong said Clear.fi will be included in all upcoming Acer-branded computers and mobile devices, with eMachines and Gateway products following at a later date. In addition, consumers purchasing the Acer Aspire Revo media hub can use the Clear.fi software on non-Acer products by downloading the app from the Revo.

Acer will jumped into the retail end of the content business in the United States during the second quarter of 2011 with its Alive store. The site will sell movies, music, books and news publications, all for download on Acer products. Like Amazon’s store, it will learn the consumer’s likes and tune itself to present the proper products.

Like Clear.fi, the Alive interface will be preloaded into all Acer products. People owning legacy Acer devices can download the interface.

Alive customers will set up a single account and payment system for all the products carried on the site. In addition, the site will learn a user’s preferences and make purchase suggestions.

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