Wed, Sep 08, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Acer expected to unveil tablet PCs before end of year

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The world’s No. 3 PC brand, Acer Inc (宏碁), is expected to debut its first slew of tablet PCs in November or December in Taiwan, marking its first foray into the burgeoning tablet PC market to counter Apple Inc’s iPad.

Sources at Acer’s local telecoms partner Far Eastone yesterday said the telecoms company would roll out tablets from three or four brands starting in November, including from Acer and Samsung Electronics Inc.

In a global press launch in Beijing in May, Acer showcased a touch-screen 7-inch tablet PC that will run on Google Inc’s Android operating system and said it would develop applications for the tablet itself.

The launch means Acer will gain a lead over rival Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), which will launch its own tablet PC — dubbed Eee Pad — in the first quarter of next year.

Scott Lin (林顯郎), Acer president of Taiwan operations, would not confirm Acer’s tablet launch date at an event yesterday where he introduced the firm’s latest smartphone, the “Acer Stream.”

The Stream is a high-end model running on a Qualcomm chip and the Android platform. It has a 3.7-inch AMOLED panel.

Costing NT$16,890 (US$528), the Stream touts an HDMI port to directly link the phone to LCD TVs to display pictures or video. It also boasts Dolby audio — a partner Acer has been working with to enhance sound quality in its notebook line.

“The smartphone market is a booming sector and there are still chances for newcomers like Acer to seize a share [of the market],” Lin said, adding that Acer was competitive thanks to its experience in the notebook and netbook markets.

Acer has a good relationship with telecoms partners after marketing its netbook series, so they are willing to promote its smartphones too, he said.

Acer smartphones are carried by 19 telecoms operators in 12 countries. These include Areovoice in the US, StarHub and SingTel in Singapore, China Mobile Ltd (中國移動) in China and PCCW Ltd (電訊盈科) and CSL Ltd (香港移動通訊) in Hong Kong.

Acer will ship 2 million to 3 million smartphones globally this year, up from “insignificant volumes” last year, while next year’s target is more than 5 million, Lin said.

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