Acer prepping 3 Android 3.0 tablets, waffling on design
updated 02:20 pm EDT, Tue September 14, 2010
by MacNN Staff
Acer to have 3 Android slates but undecided
A rumor leaked out today suggests that Acer's plan for Android tablets may include a trio of Android 3.0-based models but that it's sitting on the fence with doubts about how it should enter the market. The Taiwan company is purportedly making five-inch, seven-inch and 10-inch tablets that would all use Google's next OS but DigiTimes said it's still deciding on whether or not it should use Qualcomm's Snapdragon or a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2, even with just a few months left to go. Part suppliers suggest Acer is even undecided on its choice of main contractor and has talked to Compal and Quanta without a commitment.
The five-inch model would imitate the Dell Streak and serve as a cross between as smartphone and a tablet, with features of both.
In spite of so far pledging itself to tablets using Android and ARM, it's allegedly uncertain enough to be launching an Intel-based Windows 7 tablet at the end of this year as a trial balloon to gauge interest in tablets. Its quantities would be small but would be enough to serve as a prelude to the Android models.
The approach is very defensive for Acer and implies that it's afraid of committing to tablets even in light of the popularity of the iPad. Its plan to wait until 2011 may largely stem from a wait on Google, however. The search firm has readily admitted that Android isn't ready for tablets, with Android 3.0 likely the first version to get explicit support. Acer may want to avoid progressing too far with a tablet before knowing what the performance and user experience will be for the completed hardware.
Acer has tried to blow off Apple's threat but may not have much room to move, as it may have to lower notebook orders while Apple not only keeps selling notebooks but may be eating into netbook sales from companies that don't have a viable tablet strategy in place.