Acer unveils Iconia, new tablets
(Updated at 11:50 a.m. PT)
NEW YORK--Acer is getting serious about tablets, touch screens, and digital media.
Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci announced a handful of new touch-focused products--as well as a cloud content delivery service due out next year--at a Manhattan press event on Tuesday. The focus was on home sharing as well as on devices that did a better job consuming media, and to that end a variety of tabletlike computing devices took center stage.
Iconia dual-screen laptop
Perhaps the most eye-catching product Acer unveiled was the Iconia. The product has a laptop design, but boasts dual 14-inch touch screens--one of which can revert to a soft keyboard as needed. Acer is targeting a December 2010 release date, but no pricing was announced.
A pop-up virtual keyboard and an interactive icon touch wheel seemed like promising UI wrinkles, but like all Windows 7 touch devices, we have questions as to how easy to use touch will be and on which software it will be supported. Much like Toshiba's Libretto, at least the concept looks novel.
10- and 7-inch
These products lacked any real names, but the 10-inch model in particular boasts some impressive specs. The unit is powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 graphics chip, and supports full 1080p resolution. We would be skeptical about trying to cram 1080p content on such a small display, but an included HDMI output all of a sudden makes the 10-inch unit a competitive content delivery device for your TV. It comes with multitouch support, of course, as well as front- and rear-facing cameras.
The dual-core Qualcomm chip-based 7-inch model is scaled down from the 10-inch unit in both size and capability, although Acer also boasted of its Flash 10.1 support.
Acer's new smartphone has a 4.8-inch touch screen with a high-resolution 1,024x480-pixel resolution display. It comes with front- and rear-facing cameras, as well as an LED flash and an expected launch date of April, 2011.
In order to entice people to purchase more than just one of its new products, Acer also announced a new cloud-based media-sharing service called Clear.fi. It works over a wireless network to distribute content among Clear.fi-supported devices, which Acer claimed included all the devices demonstrated at the event.
Also announced was Alive, an online Acer content store that will offer music, movies, and books as well as cloud streaming of that content to Acer devices. However, based on indications that much of the streaming content might be walled off to Acer's products only, we're not sure how well this will succeed.