Acer has teamed up with Google to introduce the first Google Chrome-powered tablet on Monday which the two companies hope will put pressure on rival Apple's iPad.
Designed with collaboration in mind, the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 will target the K-12 education market and businesses relying on Chrome-powered tools and applications that have been looking for a tablet form factor.
The new tablet will be available in North America in April, and similar to entry-level iPad pricing, the Chromebook Tab 10 will start at $329. Out of the gate, Acer is only making the latest tablet available to commercial and education customers.
Allen Falcon, CEO of Google Cloud partner Cumulus Global, believes that the Acer Chromebook Tab 10 will compete directly with the iPad in the education market. The early adopters of the new Chrome-powered tablet will primarily be in early education where so many Google cloud-based applications are being designed with touch and graphics in mind, he added.
"Many schools are using iPads in the younger grades -- the pre-keyboard years. This tablet is not only going to be functional for older students, but it will fit very well in that elementary education age grade," Falcon said.
The Acer Chromebook Tab 10 will be another affordable option for Westborough, Mass.-based Cumulus' education customers, as well as its clients that have mobile workforces. Falcon believes the new tablet could help accelerate the adoption of Chrome within more business markets, too.
"For companies running Android apps on large-format phones, this will give those users a tablet option," he said.
The Chromebook Tab 10 features a textured, cobalt blue-colored design to make for easy handling, especially in an educational environment. It weighs in at 1.21 pounds and 9.98mm, slightly heavier and thicker than the iPad Pro. Similar to existing Android-powered tablets, thick bezels flank the 9.7 LED-backlit display with 2048 x 1536 resolution. The tablet also includes a Wacom EMR stylus that doesn't require a battery and can be inserted into its own slot on the tablet for storage.
The tablet boasts a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and 5-megapixel rear camera, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack and dual speakers. Inside, the product runs on the same OP1 platform that the 2-in-1 Samsung Chromebook Plus relies on today. The product also includes two Cortex-A72 and four Cortex-A53 processor cores under the hood, as well as 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage with a microSD card slot for expansion. At full charge, battery power can last an estimated nine hours, according to Taiwan-based Acer.
In addition to Android applications, the tablet will fully support Google's existing education software and products such as Expeditions, Google Cast For Education, and its portfolio of collaboration tools, Gsuite.
The new Chrome OS tablet announcement comes one day ahead of Apple's own tablet-related news. The tech giant is expected to reveal a lower-cost iPad model on Tuesday, which reportedly will be priced at $259.
"It will be interesting to see which other Chrome manufacturers come out with competitive tablets, and how quickly," Falcon said.
The tablet is expected to launch in EMEA in May.