The tablets will run the Android OS (version unspecified) on Intel’s new line of quad-core Sandy Bridge processors. With the move to Sandy Bridge, Acer is aiming to outmuscle the numerous Nvidia Tegra 2–powered smartphones and tablets announced earlier this month at CES.
Acer’s Lu declined to state price points and specific release dates for the new tablet offerings.
It’s a huge shift for Acer, a company which has sold tens of millions of netbooksover the past decade and has relied on the ultra-portable netbook as the key component of its business strategy to date. The announcement comes on the heels of a recent Gartner report on worldwide PC sales that shows Acer’s 2010 growth down 1.9 percent from 2009.
“Media tablets undoubtedly intensified the competition in the consumer market,” said Gartner analyst Mikako Kakagawa in the report. “These devices do not replace primary PCs, but they are viewed as good enough devices for these who want to have a second and third connected device for content-consumption usage. Mini-notebook shipments were hit the most by the success of media tablets.”
Also, this isn’t the first tablet we’ve seen from Acer. After sales of the company’s 11.2-inch convertible tablet-notebook combo fizzled on arrival in May 2010, Acer discontinued it after only a few short months.
Acer’s tablet offerings also appear to completely reverse the company’s position as of only a year ago, when Acer’s Taiwan president Scott Lin said the company had no plans to pursue a tablet option, and that the iPad would be unlikely to impact the netbook market.
“Apple has built [its] business out of carving its own niche,” Lin told the DigiTimes last February, “which means that while Apple could see success with devices like the iPad, other players are unlikely to be able to replicate its result simply by copying.”
Tablet sales overall have been robust, with industry analysts estimating Apple’s 2010 holiday iPad sales somewhere in the range of 5 to 7 million units, and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab hitting the 1 million sales mark in early December. The market is expected to continue to grow, as many of the dozens of tablets we saw at CES make their way to shelves this year.