Acer Inc (宏碁) is committed to developing a full line of Windows 8 devices, company chairman J.T. Wang (王振堂) said yesterday, as the world’s No. 4 PC vendor is banking on the new operating system to help reverse its lackluster performance.
Wang made the remarks at a press conference to introduce the company’s six new Windows 8-based and touch-enabled PC devices — two tablets (10.1 inches and 11.6 inches), two Ultrabooks (11.6 inches and 13.1 inches) and two all-in-one PCs (23 inches and 27 inches).
Wang said the new Microsoft operating system is the best of its kind and truly unique.
“I’ve never been so supportive of Microsoft,” Wang said. “The new operating system enhances users’ experience and productivity by allowing them to switch from entertainment applications to work applications in an instant.”
“Acer will first focus on developing Windows 8 PC products, with plans to [commercially] launch its first Windows 8-based device in August and gradually launch all the announced products by the end of this year,” he said.
Wang said he does not think smartphones and tablets will be able to fully replace notebooks and desktop PCs, which still command a global market of 300 million to 400 million units a year.
Windows 8 will help boost global Ultrabook shipments, Wang said.
“However, Acer is conservative about its second-quarter sales performance as consumers are still waiting for the official launch of Windows 8,” Wang said.
He forecast that Acer’s sales would begin to improve in the third quarter and show a significant pick-up in the fourth quarter as more Windows 8 devices hit the market.
The company’s global PC market share fell in the first quarter from a year earlier as shipments dropped 9.2 percent, the largest decline among the top five vendors, researcher Gartner Inc said in April.
Acer’s first-quarter consolidated revenue fell 11.4 percent from a year ago to NT$113 billion (US$3.8 billion). Its net profit plunged 72.1 percent to NT$331 million and earnings per share (EPS) dropped to NT$0.12 from NT$0.45 during the same period.
Rival Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) also announced six Windows 8-based devices at a separate press conference — one all-in-one PC, two tablets, a convertible notebook called Transformer Book and an ultralight notebook series called Taichi.
Available in both 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch screen sizes, the Taichi is as light and thin as its Zenbook series with a double-sided LED backlight display, which means touch screens on both the inside and outside of the lid.
The Transformer Book is billed as “the world’s first convertible notebook” — allowing users to instantly switch between a notebook and a tablet by simply detaching the screen — while the two tablets, when put in the mobile docks, instantly transform into compact clamshell ultraportable notebooks, complete with full QWERTY keyboards.
A company senior director said some of the Windows 8 devices announced yesterday would be introduced in the market at the same time that Microsoft launches its Windows 8 operating system — possibly in the fourth quarter, he added.
Asustek, the world’s No. 5 PC vendor and No. 1 motherboard maker, reported better-than-expected profits and margins for the first quarter of the year. The company has said it expects to eventually surpass its rivals in the Android and Windows 8 tablet business.
Net income rose 2.56 percent quarter-on-quarter, or 46 percent year-on-year, to NT$5.01 billion (US$171.2 million) in the first quarter, according to the company’s financial report.