Acer Enters Tablet Market With Android-Based Iconia Tab A500

Acer on Friday said it will bring its Android-based Iconia Tab A500 device to the U.S. tablet market on April 24 for a starting price of $449.99 as Acer implements an aggressive tablet strategy aimed at challenging Apple’s iPad 2, which also starts at $499.99.

Acer said its Iconia Tab A500 device will ship to customers worldwide sometime in April and is currently available for pre-order at Best Buy. In addition, the company said in a statement that it is developing a Windows 7-based W500 tablet, and that it will offer versions of both its Android-based and Windows-based devices with support for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network technology.

Acer’s 10.1-inch Iconia Tab A500 runs on Google’s ’Honeycomb’ Android 3.0 operating system, which features a tablet-specific user interface, and a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, which features integrated GPU capability. Acer’s first tablet to reach North American consumers includes built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, 720p video viewing capability, and an HDMI cable to 1080p HD displays. It weighs about 1.69 pounds and measures 0.52-inches thick.

Acer’s Iconia Tab A500 offers 1280 x 800 resolution, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, a 5-megapixel rear facing camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and a dual 3260mAh battery that supports 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing and eight hours of gaming, according to Acer. The integrated graphics chip, tablet-optimized Honeycomb OS, and the battery life all contribute to the device’s GPU performance and its viability as a gaming console.

Sponsored post

Although Acer’s device was on display at CES 2011 and offers consumer-oriented features including gaming, Acer will need to position its upcoming Windows 7-based tablet in the enterprise space if Acer is to seriously challenge Apple in the market segment. As tablets become increasingly useful for enterprise storage and mobile productivity, Acer’s initial Android-based offering offers 16 GB of internal storage and a Micro SD card slot for up to 32 GB of extended storage.

Acer at CES 2011 in January showcased Iconia along with several other vendors who displayed consumer systems in the burgeoning mobile embedded device space. However, like other would-be Apple competitors, the company has had to wait until after the launch of Apple’s second-generation iPad 2 tablet in March to release its first-generation 10-inch tablet.

Next: The Recent Resignation Of Acer's CEO

Moreover, Acer recently chose to change its leadership and go in a different, more tablet-oriented direction in response to the industry trend toward mobile devices that offer a touch-screen user experience. Acer CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci resignedlast month and Acer Chairman J.T. Wang, who took over as interim CEO in the wake of Lanci’s departure, said Acer will take a completely new, much more aggressive approach to the burgeoning mobile device market -- with various form factor PCs including notebooks, netbooks, smartphones and above all tablets.

As the line-up at CES and numerous tablet announcements in recent weeks suggest, Apple’s iPad is far from being the sole product in the market for Acer to target. On Wednesday, Forbes reported that Dell said it will launch an Android-based and a Windows-based tabletin the summer and fall of this year, respectively. Last month Asus began shipping its Eee Pad Transformer tablet-PC hybrid while Lenovo launched its LePad tablet in China and said the device would come to the international market in June -- although the company made no specific mention of the U.S. or North American market.