Acer added a third member to the Iconia Tab family on Friday with the launch of the 7-inch Iconia Tab A100.
The Iconia A100 is the first 7-inch tablet to run Honeycomb 3.2, latest version of the Android operating system. It comes with Wi-Fi only and features an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, which includes micro-USB and microSD ports as well as an HDMI port supporting the transfer of video in 1080p. A rear-facing 5 megapixel camera records video at 720p, while the front-facing 2 megapixel camera acts as a webcam.
Acer is positioning the Iconia A100 as a family tablet, but Gurpreet Kaur, a tablet analyst for Gap Intelligence, a San Diego-based research firm, thinks this marketing strategy is flawed. "I'm not sure why a consumer would need a 7-inch device, because it isn't much more portable than a 10-inch tablet," Kaur said. "I see [7-inch tablets] in point-of-sale scenarios or for CRM, but not for the general consumer."
Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing at Fremont, Calif.-based system builder ASI Corp., also thinks the 7-inch form factor is better suited for niche markets than the general consumer market. "I see this [7-inch] form factor as useful in a retail setting or other verticals where the mobility aspect is key," he said.
Acer is betting that families -- and mothers in particular -- stand to benefit from any uptick in mobility. In Acer's Iconia A100 press release, the company described the device as the "ultimate companion for mobile moms and families."
Bob O'Donnell, a tablet analyst with research firm IDC, is bullish on Acer's opportunity in the tablet market and thinks targeting families with a 7-inch tablet makes sense. "At this point, vendors need to create some sort of differentiation, and a 7-inch tablet is still sort of a unique thing. So it does allow you to say we have something different and unique," he said.
O'Donnell added that Acer stands to benefit from avoiding cellular carriers by only releasing a Wi-Fi version of the A100. "People want Wi-Fi and they want to buy at Best Buy, so Acer is well positioned to sell tablets," he said.
The Iconia Tab A100 is currently shipping in the U.S. and is priced at $329.99 for the 8GB model and $349.99 for the 16GB model. The tablet will reach Canadian stores in September, according to Acer.