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Acer preps for November tablet launch

Oct 29, 2010 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci has said to expect a line of Acer tablet devices on Nov. 23, with some running Android and others running Microsoft Windows. Lanci also predicted that the worldwide tablet market will reach 40 million to 50 million units by 2011.

Adding to the impending glut of tablet-style devices crowding a market resurrected by Apple's iPad, computer maker Acer's CEO Gianfranco Lanci told Dow Jones Newswire the company is planning to introduce a family of tablet computers in November, including Android and Windows models. The tablets will sell for between $299-$699 and will be unveiled during a press conference Nov. 23, says the story.

Acer chairman J.T. Wang told the news service the company will open its own online portal for tablet applications, and remained confident of a strong increase of sales for non-tablet devices.

"We won't imitate Google or Apple. We are in a good position to penetrate into other customer electronics markets including smartphones and tablet PCs," Wang told Dow Jones.

In May, Acer's Lanci showed off a prototype seven-inch color tablet that runs Android (pictured at right in a Shufflegazine photo). Then in July, Acer was rumored to be launching both seven-inch and ten-inch ARM-based Android tablets in the fourth quarter.

Lanci was reported by Dow Jones to have confirmed that the company was also opening a "major operations center" in China, just days after Apple announced the launch of its online store for the Chinese market; Apple's iPad is currently available to Chinese buyers.

"The new major operation center will have manufacturing, logistics and sales operations," Lanci said.

ComputerWorld quoted Lanci forecasting a tablet market nearing 40 million to 50 million devices globally by 2011. Lanci was said to have downplayed the risk of a netbook market cannibalization and the price of PC components.

"The idea that the tablet will cannibalize the netbook, we don't see it, except in the U.S.," he said, adding that he thinks Acer could eventually claim up to 20 percent of the tablet market. "You're probably not going to see the price going down, you're likely to see the specs going up," he said, referring to the consumer PC market.

Acer's tablet would position the company in direct competition with Apple, HP, Samsung, BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM), Panasonic, and Microsoft, to name a few.

Despite the heady (and growing) competition, the Apple iPad is expected to be a commanding presence through at least 2012, research firm iSuppli projected in an Aug. 25 report. In 2010, iSuppli expects the iPad to account for 74.1 percent of global tablet shipments. By 2011, as the competition begins seriously filling out, the company said it still expects Apple to command 70.4 percent of the market, and nearly two-thirds market share through 2012.

IT research firm Gartner, Inc. recently estimated that by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people would carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce, including tablets, providing "an ideal environment" for the convergence of mobility and the web.

In the second quarter, Acer slipped one spot to become the world's third largest PC maker after Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell, according to according to a September report by iSuppli. Acer experienced a 6.2 percent shipment decline in the second quarter, with its shipments falling to 10.2 million units, down from 10.9 million in the first quarter.


The Dow Jones Newswire story on Acer's tablet plans may be found here, and the ComputerWorld story should be here.

Nathan Eddy is a regular contributor to our sister publication eWEEK.

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