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Acer's Windows 8 Tablet Edges Into iPad Turf

By Richard Adhikari
Oct 10, 2012 10:07 AM PT

Ramping up for the holiday season, Acer this week announced the Iconia W510 Windows 8 hybrid tablet, just five days after it unveiled the W700 Win 8 tablet PC.

Acer's Windows 8 Tablet Edges Into iPad Turf

The W510 is offered in four versions -- as a standalone tablet PC with 32 or 64 GB of RAM, with a keyboard dock, or as a full-fledged business device running Windows 8 Pro.

Acer Iconia W510 hybrid tablet
The Acer Iconia W510 hybrid tablet
(click image to enlarge)

Prices range from US$499 to $799 and the W510 will be available on Nov. 9.

"Acer has designed its new Windows 8 tablet PC to serve customers who want to maximize productivity and have a first-rate tablet experience," Acer spokesperson Kelly Odle told TechNewsWorld. "The new Iconia W510 provides a versatile environment for customers to stay productive and be entertained."

What It Offers

All four versions of the Iconia W510 run on an Intel Atom Z2760, have a 10.1-inch Gorilla Glass 2 touchscreen with 1366 x 768 resolution and a 16:9 aspect ratio, and have two cameras.

The front camera is a 2 MP device and the rear one an 8 MP device. Both offer 1080 HD audio and video recording. The rear camera has autofocus and LED flash support.

All four have HD audio support, Dolby Home Theater v4 , two built-in speakers and digital microphone, and support 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.

The four models all have a Micro-HDMI port, a micro SD card reader port, and a micro USB 2.0 port.

Battery life is up to nine hours for the 32- and 64- GB basic tablets, and up to 18 hours. The other two versions both include the keyboard dock, which has a second battery that provides another roughly 9 hours of life.

The corporate version, running Win 8 Pro, will support enterprise legacy programs and provide security and authentication through the Trusted Platform Module, which is optional, Acer said. It will come with a two-year warranty.

The Iconia W510 weighs 1.27 pounds on its own, and 2.63 pounds with the keyboard dock.

Hitting the Price Point

The basic $500 model will compete directly with the iPad, but "it will be difficult for [Acer] to gain traction at that price point," Julien Blin, a directing analyst at Infonetics, told TechNewsWorld.

"The best way to gain traction is to undercut Apple [by offering the tablet at] $200 to $300, but then Acer would have to compete with Amazon, Google's Nexus 7 and the Nook Color," Blin continued.

Although the top-of-the-line model "will appeal to some business users as Windows 8 is a good fit for the enterprise, I don't think that Windows 8 tablets will drive significant sell-through like the iPad based on the premium price," Blin said. Microsoft "will try to convert" many of their 1.3 billion Windows users to its Win 8 tablets and, while they may not generate significant sell-through at the beginning, "over time it might be different."

It would be best to compare the Iconia 510 to Android tablets rather than the iPad, Jeff Orr, a senior practice director at ABI Research, suggested. "There's Apple and there's the rest of the market, and going against the rest of the market depends on providing a coherent story on why your product is a better choice."

The hybrid form factor is fine because "there's a market for [them]," Infonetics' Blin remarked. "Business users want to use a tablet that's highly portable and lets them be productive on the go with robust B2B features such as virtual private networks, mobile device management and FIPS."

FIPS is the Federal Information Processing Standard, a United States government computer security standard.

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