Usually, the only live press events which garner any attention are those by Apple, and sometimes those by Microsoft. This time around, though, Acer’s been the center of attention, and it has paid off: the company has unveiled a boatload of interesting hardware – including a dual-screen laptop, a high-resolution Android phone, and several tablets.
Let’s start with the tablets. Acer’s betting on both Android and Windows 7, with machines in various sizes. The Android tablets come in 7″ and 10.1″ versions, both sporting the same 1280Ã—800 resolution. The 10.1″ model has a 1.0Ghz dual-core processor, while the 7″ will have a crazy 1.2Ghz dual-core chip. They both have the usual connection options, as well as a gyroscope. Acer remains mum on the Android version (supposedly it’ll be 3.0), but I think the current lack of a version of the operating system for tablets is the reason why Acer set the ship date for these at April 2011 (!).
A lot less is known about the Windows tablet, but we do know a few interesting tidbits. Most importantly, it’ll run on AMD silicon instead of Intel’s, which is interesting enough in and of itself. The device and its dock look stunning, but it won’t ship until February 2011.
The Android smartphone announced by Acer is pretty mind-blowing. We’re looking at a 4.8″ display with a staggering 1024Ã—480 resolution [ELQ’s note: “not all that great actually”], all-metal enclosure, and the usual list of connection options. It also has two cameras, a six-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, and several other interesting items. This device, too, looks beautiful, but once again, won’t ship until April 2011.
And now the most interesting and jaw-dropping announcement of all: the dual-screen Acer Iconia. Take a deep breath… “She’s running Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) and is equipped with an Intel Core i5-480M/560M/580M CPU, up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, a pair of 14-inch multitouch displays (1366Ã—768 resolution), integrated Intel HD graphics (128MB RAM), VGA/HDMI outputs, an inbuilt microphone and a S/PDIF interface,” Engadget details, “There’s also a 320/500/640/750GB hard drive, Acer’s CrystalEye webcam (1280Ã—1024 resolution), 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0+HS, integrated 3G WWAN, gigabit Ethernet, a four-cell battery and a total weight of 6.18 pounds. Closing things out, there are a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 jack and a one-year warranty.”
Of course, the ‘bottom’ screen is packed with custom software, and in all honesty, it doesn’t actually look bad at all – although Acer was honest enough to admit that typing on the multitouch display has somewhat of a learning curve (no kidding – after a year, I still can’t type on my iPhone). There’s some definitive Courier influences in there, and it might just be me, but doesn’t this look and feel like WPF code?
No word on when this baby will be released, but judging by the video, it looks pretty close to a releasable product. In any case, this flurry of hardware announcements from Acer are pretty stunning, but obviously, being set for release so far in the future does lead to some wariness, especially in this industry riddled with vapourware and empty promises.
I usually don’t use my smartphone for video. I have a heavy immobile entertainment system for that. it will be great for … Looking at text, websites, spreadsheets, pictures, applications. The bigger resolution holds no draw backs for those.
Is it just me, or is anybody else sick of hearing about more tablets? It’s a product that should have died with the Newton (remember those?). I’ve been waiting two years for the promised ARM-based netbooks, and none are in sight. All the manufacturers said we’d have them in late 2009 or early 2010, but then Apple released a tablet computer (why didn’t they call it the iNewton?) and now that is suddenly the rage.
I guess that whatever Apple makes, the fanboys will take out a second mortgage to buy it whether they want it or not. Then the Taiwanese clone it and the Herd will follow. I just wonder what the next great new old product will be – perhaps one of those online “smart” refrigerators that were touted during the dotcom bubble:
Forget the Shopping List, Let the Fridge Order the Milk
I can see it now – the iFridge with a 16-core ARM processor, yours for only US$18,000. Then ASUS will release an Android-based eeeFridge and Acer will market the AspireFridge One, both of which boast triple-monitors (you can read an ebook on one, play games on the other, while Net surfing on the third).
Sorry if that sounds like sour grapes, but I’m pissed that absolutely no one delivered the netbooks. Yes, I know I can buy an eeePC. In fact, I’ve had one since 2008. The idea of going to ARM though was longer battery life, and (far more important to me) fanless operation. I live in a dusty environment and fans have always been the weak spot. Ironically, I used to own an excellent fanless laptop back in the early 1990s (Toshiba T1000), but it only ran MS-DOS and lacked graphics or connectivity.
I guess if I want to own an ARM-based computer, I’ve got to build it myself. Anybody know where I can buy the motherboard?
Edited 2010-11-24 01:29 UTC