Acer Releases Windows Tablet and Android Phone


Acer has unveiled a number of new mobile devices at the annual Computex trade show this week and the products show the growing diversity in operating systems that are offered from a single company with a Windows powered tablet and an Android powered smartphone.

The company has been increasingly aggressive in its rollout of products recently and looks to establish itself alongside rivals such as Samsung and Apple as one of the top players in the smartphone and tablet space. .

The tablet is the Acer Iconia W3 which features an 8.1-ich screen with a 1280 x 800 resolution running Windows 8 operating system and features an Intel Atom 1.8Ghz Z2760 microprocessor. The tablet marks the first release of a small form factor tablet running the Windows operating system.

Reports are showing that the smaller form Tablets are starting to outsell the larger ones and it is a feather in Acer’s cap that it is the first with a model that supports Windows 8. Microsoft only recently said that it would be supporting smaller size screens.

Other features include either a 32GB or 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded with the addition of optional microSD cards, an eight hour battery, dual front and rear facing 2MP cameras it will come with a pre-installed copy of Microsoft Office. It is expected to ship in June and start at $428.

The smartphone is the Liquid S1, which with its 5.7-inch screen is not that much smaller than the Iconia W3. It has a 1280 x 720 screen resolution and will feature the Android 4.2 operating system. It has a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of memory and 8GB of storage. However it does not support LTE.

The smartphone is the company’s first push into the phablet space, the hybrid smartphones with large screens that can double as a tablet.

Apple Enters the 7-inch Space With iPad Mini

The suspense has been gone for some time but now that Apple has officially taken the wraps off of its latest member of the iPad family, the 7-inch iPad Mini we can actually look at the details and see how it compares to its rivals in this space.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook officially unveiled the latest at an event held in San Jose, Calif. today, seven months after its last iPad release. Apple’s iPad Mini is 53% lighter than the last generation iPad at 0.68 pounds, and has a 7.9-inch Retina screen with a 1,024 x 768 resolution, the same resolution as the iPad . Apple said that since the displays are the same resolution there should be no issue using existing iPad apps on the newest tablet. It features a 5MP backward facing camera and is capable of connecting to a 4G LTE network.

The iPad Mini starts at $329 for a 16GB version, $429 for the 32GB model and $529 for the 64GB model and Apple will start taking orders for the tablet on Friday and said that it expects to ship the Wi-Fi version at the end of next week with the cellular version to ship two weeks later.

Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller said that the iPad Mini’s rivals in the 7-inch space were failures. Well Apple will have the chance now to show that it is better since its two top rivals, Amazon and Google, sell their 7-inch tablets at cost with the Google Nexus 7 starting at $199 and the Amazon Kindle at $159, both significantly lower than what Apple is selling the iPad Mini for.

There is no doubt that the company has had tremendous success with the larger iPads since its debut, with over 100 million sold and a dominating, almost 70% market share so far. This might be why Apple had been originally disparaging of the 7-inch market but the success first of Amazon’s Kindle tablet followed closely by Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Google’s Nexus 7 have shown that there was a large demand out there for smaller devices.

Tablet market no longer just Apple vs. Android
It should be noted that while Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Google have been getting all of the press for their popular 7-inch offerings, more are expected from additional companies, starting with Acer’s announcement of its Iconia A110. The 7-inch tablet is approximately $30 less than the Nexus 7 at $230 and will have a 1024 x 600 resolution display, but this is another Android-based system.

However the Windows 8 revolution is about to hit us as Microsoft seeks to establish itself as a major player not only in the tablet operating space with its Windows 8 operating system but also as a provider of hardware with its Surface tablets, all of which will be unveiled this week.

Plenty of the Windows 8 hardware OEMs such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Asus and Lenovo have already taken the wraps off of their devices in advance of the official unveiling and Intel has talked about the features that t will bring to the space with its technology and processors. However, so far none of the OEMs, that I am aware of, have talked about 7-inch tablets, although Samsung has offered one in the past. I suspect that just like Apple they will be visiting the space, and soon.

It would not be an Apple event if there was just one center of attention. The company announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro that features its retina display technology, a notebook that weights in almost a pound lighter and 20% thinner than previous versions. Currently available it has a $1,699 starting price tag. Then there is a Mac Mini at $599 and a new iMac with up to a 27-inch display and an interesting new hard drive/flash combo starting at $1299 for the version with a 21.5-inch display.

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Acer, Huawei, Best Buy tablets on the horizon

Acer Iconia W510 tablet reaches FCC
Acer’s forthcoming Iconia W510 tablet, a Windows 8 ready device, is the latest forthcoming tablet to start testing at the Federal Communications Commission. This makes it very likely that the tablet will be available on the day of the launch, according to Engadget.

Amazon’s profit margin on Kindle is nil
Amazon has admitted what a number of research companies have already said, that its Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Paperwhite e-reader are sold at cost. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told the BBC as much in an interview late last week. This is not really that surprising since the company is using these tablets as tools to open up sales of other products and services that the company offers. Google’s Nexus 7 is also sold at roughly cost.

With Apple expected to enter the 7-inch tablet space later this month it will be interesting to see how it prices the new iPad since Apple does make money on its hardware, but then it develops the operating system and processor.

Kickstarter hits the UK at month end

Kickstarter, the ever popular crowd funding site, is opening its horizons a bit as the site is planning on going live in the United Kingdom on Halloween. The site will list projects in pounds but feature a conversion chart so that people interested in pledging can also see the dollar value.

Tablet due from Huawei
We mentioned a week ago that Huawei was looking to enter the tablet space and Slashgear has already gotten its hands on one of the offerings that are coming from the company. One is the MediaPad 10 FHD that features a 10-inch display with 1920 x 1200 resolution and runs the Android operating system using a Huawei-built 1.5GHz processor. Capable of supporting 4G LTE it will be available with 8GB, 16GB and 32GB of storage and feature 2GB of RAM.

Amazon admits Kindle Paperwhite flaw
Amazon has issued a statement that admits that there is a lighting issue with its Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. Apparently the device has uneven lighting that can create odd gaps at the bottom of the screen. In addition the company pointed out that the device had 2GB of storage, down from 4GB in earlier models and that it does not support text-to-speech or have audio.

Best Buy joins the tablet fray
Best Buy has developed the Insignia Flex, but has not really provided too many details on the device. It has a dual core 1GHz processor, a 9.7-inch form factor and will run the Android 4.0 operating system. However so far other details such as storage, camera and price are still lacking.

10 Million iPads on the horizon?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple as ordered sufficient components to build 10 million of the next generation iPads, showing the strength of demand that the company expects for the tablet that is expected to be released later this month. The paper said that the number is roughly double what Amazon placed for Kindle Fire tablets in the same quarter.

Google asks for do-over in patent appeal
After losing to Microsoft two weeks ago Google’s Motorola Mobility group is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for a rehearing on an appeal that it had before the court once before. The court refused to hear its appeal two weeks ago. The appeal has to do with the courts preliminary injunction against Motorola prohibiting it from enforcing a German court injunctions. According to Foss Patents, the chances of an appeal being hear before the court are approximately 0.25%

Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: New Tablets from Google, Acer

The latest rumor, about Google anyway, is that it is preparing to release another member of its Nexus 7 tablet family. The latest is expected to have 32GB of storage, a big leap up from the 16GB that is the current maximum storage available for users. For those looking to mark their calendar the rumor mill says it will be Oct. 24.

AT&T is planning on selling Windows 8 tablets
AT&T has announced that it will be offering a pair of tablets that will be running on the soon to be announced Windows 8 operating system. The company will offer the Asus VivoTab RT, a tablet that will be able to handle 4G LTE cellular communications. The second tablet will be the Samsung ATIV SmartPC, a system that has a removable keyboard and can be configured as either a clamshell notebook or a tablet.

AT&T is also venturing into selling antivirus by offering an app and a service that will work to keep smartphones free from infection. While AT&T Mobile Security is now only offered to businesses it has plans for a consumers offering as well.

Motorola wins one in Germany against Microsoft
The Mannheim Regional Court has ruled that Motorola Mobility did not violate a Microsoft patent on a “method and radio interface layer comprising a set of application programming interfaces (APIs).” The court gave no reason for its ruling and Microsoft is expected to appeal. This is only one of the issues that the two are fighting about in court.

Oracle readies for next round in fight with Google
Oracle has appealed the Google case, the one where the jury found that code in the Android operating system was not stolen, as Oracle had claimed. The case dealt with both patent and copyright infringement and while the jury found very minor infractions the court did not award anything to Oracle.

Acer’s Iconia W700 Tablet to cost $799
We have been a bit lax on reporting on the upcoming AcerW700 Iconia tablet so here is a quick snapshot. The Tablet will be released on Oct. 26 as part of Microsoft’s Windows 8 launch. With an expected $799 price tag it will feature an 11.6-inch display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. The tablet will include a Bluetooth keyboard, a choice of Intel processors including a Core i5 chip and will have 64GB or 128 GB of solid state storage.

Alcatel joins tablet space
Speaking of tablets it looks like communications player Alcatel has developed a 7-inch tablet that will compete with the likes of Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire families. The One Touch T10 Android tablet looks like it is designed for budget users and will include a 800 x 480 display and 4GB of flash storage.

MobileCon 2012 is this week
For the mobile minded the show formerly known as Fall CTIA has been renamed to MobileCon 2012 and will start Oct. 9 and run until Oct. 12 in San Diego. It should be good for some interesting handset offerings as well as most likely a host of product leaks.

One reason there might not be quite as many new products as expected is because just a short time later, on Oct. 29 to be exact, Microsoft will be officially launching its Windows 8 phone platform, a few days after it introduces Windows 8 for tablets.

Amazon refreshes Kindle Fire as More Competition Looms

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Amazon has come back to the market with its second generation Kindle Fire as well as its lowered prices and enhanced the performance of existing Kindle models. Declaring that the company has decided to go big, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage today to introduce a pair of new Kindle Fire tablets called the Kindle Fire HD including an 8.9-inch device that caught many by surprise. There is also a 7-inch version.

The latest device appears to have something for everybody with enhanced e-mail that will appeal to business users, the ability to limit screen time that will make parents happy and a faster device and wireless capabilities that everyone will like.

The screen on the Kindle Fire HD has a 1920 x 1200 resolution and Amazon has eliminated the air gap in the new Laminated Touch Sensor display, a move that it said will eliminate glare by 25%. The tablet will be powered by a Texas Instruments 4470 OMAP processor.

The company has adopted a MIMO (multiple input-multiple output) dual antenna structure in the devices that help with providing a stronger, faster Wi-Fi signal, operating in the 5GHz band. A key advantages that even with the higher speeds it does not use additional battery power. Amazon said that this is 41% faster that the new iPad.

Additional hardware features a front facing camera and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus. The storage will start at 16GB, with Amazon saying that 8GB, common in most rival offerings, just would not work with high definition.

There is a range of new software features including Whispersync for voice that enables you to listen to a book and then later start up reading where you were last listening. There is also a version for games so that you can continue on from where you stopped in a game.

For users that view movies on their tablets there is now a feature called X-Ray for Movies that was developed in a partnership with IMDB that allows you to freeze a scene and the app will tell you who is currently on screen. If needed it can go into a great deal of additional detail.

For the corporate user it has an enhanced e-mail that will enable a very tight integration with Microsoft Exchange. There is also a feature called Kindle FreeTime that lets you set screen time limits for kids with different settings for movies and reading.

The entry level price for the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD will be $199 while the 8.9-inch model will start at $299 and a 4G LTE version will have a $499 sticker price. The first model is expected in the next few weeks but the higher end models will not be available unit late November.

Another new offering from the company is its slim and light Kindle Paperwhite, a 7.5-ounch 9.1 mm thick e-reader that will include a front lit display with user changeable fonts and a higher resolution display. Its base price will be $119 while a 3G version will have a $179 price tag. The company reduced its Kindle from $199 to $159 with more memory and a faster processor, available on September 14.

The company first delivered the Kindle Fire last fall and it was one of the hottest products gifts of the holiday season, topping the sales charts at Amazon in its first weeks. However a bevy of competitors have darkened the sheen of the product. Amazon estimates that it now has 22% of the tablet market in the United States.

Barnes & Noble are fighting to get share with its Nook but the bigger competition has come from market leader Apple and its iPad lineup and newcomer Google with its Nexus 7 offering. In the near future we will see a host of tablets based on the two versions of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system

We are already seeing hardware OEM’s such as Lenovo, Acer, Asus and Hewlett-Packard release advance information about next generation tablets as well as new hardware developer Microsoft with its Surface platform. Intel claims that at least 20 tablets will be using its chips in future releases, and it is not the market leader in this space.

That is a reason why Apple’s and Samsung’s offerings cost significantly more; they are looking for profits off of their hardware. Amazon’s Bezos talked about how customers want services not gadgets and that hardware is a service. He noted that most of its rivals in the tablet space have failed because they do not realize this. He said that Amazon does not expect to make money from its hardware but from the content it sells. Despite this he claims that it is not a razor/razor blade situation. However there are dangers to this approach as pointed out here at CNBC.

Amazon has really raised the bar on features and performance with the Kindle Fire HD and it will be very interesting to see how the competition reacts. With Apple’s new iPad expected soon, it will probably be the first to face a drect comparison, followed by the Windows 8 tablets.

New Windows 8 Tablets from Acer and Asus Just the Start

Windows 8 got a boost at the Computex trade show last week in Taipei when it was talked up by a number of hardware developers ranging from tablet developers to microprocessor purveyors, creating some momentum prior to the release of the operating system.

As we noted last week Intel took the bull by the horns and talked about how 20 of its OEMs have tablets in development using its Atom Z2760 processor family as the company seeks to establish itself as a player in the tablet market.

But some of the Windows hardware developers were a good deal more specific about what they had in development, specifically Acer and Asus, both of which have been working hard in the Android spac to establish themselves as tablet developers and now look to Microsoft for a boost.

Acer is developing a pair of tablets for the market, and will use the letter “W” to indicate that the products are for Windows. The two are the Iconia Tab W510 and the Iconia Tab W700. The 10.1-inch W510 is a hybrid design that can be used as a touch screen and docked with a keyboard.

The Iconia Tab W700 has an 11.6-inch display with 1920 x 1080 pixels and will also include a docking station like the W510. It has the ability to display at a 70 degree angle, much greater than is commonly found in tablets. Both will use Intel processors, although the exact one was not revealed. The W510 is expected top be the workhorse while the W700 is the high end offring in the family.

Asustek has also come to the table last week with the Asus Tablet 600, but it will not be sporting Intel, using an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor. The 10-inch tablet will be using a version of Windows called Windows RT. The basic specs are that it will have 2GB of RAM, a 32GB storage capacity and Office 15 software.