Acer unveils tablets to run Windows, Android

Acer guns for a share of the fledgling tablet market

The dual screen Acer Iconia

The dual screen Acer Iconia

Acer executives on Tuesday previewed tablet computers planned for release next year, including three Android-based devices and one that runs Windows. They also detailed plans to introduce a portable computer that has the form factor of a laptop but replaces the keyboard with a second touchscreen, allowing users to use a virtual keyboard or some other form of touch-based interface.

One of the upcoming tablets has a 10-inch screen and runs a Qualcomm dual-core 1 Ghz processor. This unit will feature the ability to show 1080p high-definition video and have full support for Flash. Configurations running Windows and Android will be offered. For customers seeking Android tablet options, the company will offer a 7-inch model, as well as a 5-inch "mini-tablet." All are expected to be ready in the early part of next year, depending on when Google finishes the Android 3.0 operating system.

The portable computer, called Iconia, will be available in the early part of next year. It will feature two 14-inch screens and will run Windows 7, along with Acer software for recognizing touch commands. The primary screen can show content, while the bottom screen can be used for navigation -- or, a single application, such as a browser showing a Web page, can be extended across both screens.

At a press event in New York, the company also previewed some new software services for users of Acer hardware. In particular, the Clear.Fi service will allow home users to share content across different Acer and non-Acer devices. This service will be available within the next six months.

Acer also previewed Alive, a media service that allows users to download or stream videos, music, books, games and applications from a single console. Alive will be introduced in December in the U.K. and Italy, and in the U.S and other countries in the beginning part of next year. Initially, it will offer 8 million songs, 2,000 movies and 1,500 music videos, as well as some games and applications.

With these devices, Acer is seeking to take a bite out of the tablet market pioneered by Apple. One analyst expects Apple to sell 28 million iPads in 2011.

Acer president and CEO Gianfranco Lanci predicted that, within three years, the world will have over a billion mobile devices, across a wide range of form factors.

"I think the most important thing we want to communicate is that we want to be a global player in mobile solutions, be it with mobile smartphones, tablets, notebooks and other mobiles; and we want to be a player not only on content aggregation but content consumption," said Lanci, on the sidelines of the launch event.

In comments to IDG News Service, Lanci praised Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, noting that he has "started to see a lot of improvement. [It has a ] very good user interface, and [Microsoft has] started to leverage other assets like Windows Live and Xbox. I think Windows Phone 7 is already much better than before, and [it] will continue to improve."

"If you think of a billion devices three years from now there will be enough space for much more than one or two operating systems," he added.

Clearly Acer is grappling with an ever-wider array of operating systems for portable devices, some more finished than others. Acer's Android releases trail the Windows ones because "Android is less under our control, so it depends when the Android tablet operating system will be released," Lanci said. During the question-and-answer session following the presentation, Jim Wong, Acer senior corporate vice president, also noted that Acer will participate in the launch of Google's ChromeOS operating system, which should take place sometime next year.

(IDG News Service news editor Marc Ferranti contributed to this report.)

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ultraportableUltramobilehardware systemstablet PCslaptopsacernetbooks

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?