Taiwanese company plans to launch ultra-cheap slate
Acer, the fourth largest PC maker in the world, is reported to be developing two new tablets to launch in the early part of next year.
The first of these will likely be a seven-inch tab with a 1,024 x 600 resolution and 1.2GHz dual core processor. A source speaking to the Wall Street Journal indicated this tablet is likely to be titled the Iconia B1 and will go up against the likes of Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Barnes & Noble's Nook HD.
However, what could really set the Iconia B1 apart from the rest is that Acer is reportedly planning to launch the tablet with a $99 price tag, giving it (in theory) a UK price of only £61.
The lower price would undercut the likes of the Kindle Fire, Nook HD and, crucially, the Google Nexus 7 and could sway customers looking for a new tablet in 2013. The Taiwanese company pursued a similar route with early laptop models – offering compatible specs at much lower prices than competitors.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, the WSJ believes the Iconia B1 is targeted at emerging markets – think BRIC countries – and can't say for certain whether the tablet is likely to launch in the States or Europe. Acer has attempted to move into premium devices over the last couple of years, such as the Acer Aspire S7 Ultrabook.
“In the past few months, we've made project roadmap changes in response to big changes in the tablet market,” an inside source told the WSJ. “The launch of the Nexus 10 has changed the outlook for what makes competitive pricing.”
A different source indicated the second tablet will be an Intel-based Windows 8 device with a price lower than current Windows 8 tablets like the Microsoft Surface and the Sony Duo 11.
The lower price points could bite into Acer's operating profits, but if the end-game is market share in emerging markets like China and India, producing these budget devices could be the best way to proceed.