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1/3/2014
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Acer Debuts 3 Tablets Pre-CES

Acer's new low-cost Android and Windows tablets target budget-minded buyers seeking entry-level hardware.

10 Best Tablets Of 2013
10 Best Tablets Of 2013
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Acer unveiled three tablets Friday -- two that run Google's Android operating system and one that runs Microsoft's Windows 8.1. All three tout small screens and low prices for budget-minded buyers.

The Acer Iconia A1-830, the first of the Android pair, features a 7.9-inch, 1,024x768 LCD screen with in-plane switching technology. Acer says the 4:3 aspect ratio panel offers viewing angles of up to 178 degrees. The tablet is powered by an Intel Atom Z2560 1.6-GHz processor with 1 GB of RAM, which Acer says delivers enough oomph for gaming, video playback, and fast multitasking. Other specs include 16 GB of onboard storage with support for microSD memory cards, dual speakers for stereo sound, a five-megapixel camera with 1,080p HD video capture, Bluetooth, and WiFi.

The A1-830 is crafted from aluminum to give it strength and a more premium feel. The device, which measures 8.15 mm thick and weighs 0.84 pounds, will offer 7.5 hours of battery life. It runs Android 4.2.1 and will be available in Europe first at the end of February for €169 ($229).

[When it comes to tablet sales, two companies continue to reign supreme. Read Apple, Samsung Dominate Tablet Market.]

The less expensive Iconia B1 features lesser specs than the A1-830. The B1, now in its third generation, has been slimmed down from previous models and given better internals. It features a seven-inch display that supports 10-point touch, and it is run by a dual-core 1.3-GHz processor with 1 GB of RAM. Acer has raised the build quality and given the B1 a soft-touch back cover to make it easier to hold, as well as interchangeable shells for custom colors. Acer moved the microphone and speaker to the front of the device and added a user-facing camera for video chats. The device comes with 16 GB of internal storage, but it supports microSD cards for additional capacity.

The B1 will be available in mid-January in two variants. The WiFi model will cost just €129, and the 3G/WiFi model will cost €179. Acer says it will be ideal for new users.

The last tablet in this trio is the Iconia W4, a Windows 8.1 device that features an 8.1-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and 1,280x800 pixels. According to Acer, the LCD panel uses IPS technology, like the A1-830, and offers viewing angles of up to 170 degrees. The tablet makes use of Zero Air Gap construction to remove the air between the touch panel and the LCD, reducing glare and improving outdoor readability. The W4 is powered by a fourth-generation Intel Atom 1.8-GHz processor and comes with either 32 GB or 64 GB of internal storage. Other specs include a five-megapixel rear camera with 1,080p HD video capture, a two-megapixel user-facing camera, and micro HDMI and USB ports.

Aimed more toward productivity-minded users, the W4 includes Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013, which allows users to create and edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. The tablet also offers some software developed by Acer, including InstantGo, which refreshes app data in the background, even when the screen is off, so the device is always up to date. The Iconia W4 weighs 0.91 pounds and measures 10.75 mm thick. Acer did not say whether a 3G/4G version will be available or how much battery life users can expect.

The W4 will be available from the end of January for €299.

The three tablets join an increasingly crowded and noisy market with dozens of low-cost tablets. HP, Asus, Amazon, Nabi, and others offer compelling hardware in the $200 range. Acer's biggest problem in gaining traction for its devices will be marketing and differentiating them from the competition.

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DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
1/9/2014 | 11:46:55 AM
Re: "Innovation"
@Whoopty, Today show me a competitor's product to the iPad Air.  Dell maybe, no.  HP maybe, no.  How about Samsung, no.  In 2010, show me a competitor's product to the iPad.  In 2007 show me a competitor's product to the iPhone.  There were none in every case.  Now how did marketing "hype" do that?
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/7/2014 | 10:48:28 AM
"Innovation"
Apple's "innovation," with the iPad was adding it to its hipster catalogue. Tablets had been around for almost a decade when it introduced the iPad. 

I won't argue that Apple isn't a masterful hype machine, but its' technological achievements come from marketing, not from product development. 
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
1/6/2014 | 11:06:36 AM
Re: More low end junk?
Which tablet sells more than any other?  The iPad has been number one since its debut in Apriil 2010.  And still no competitor matches.  So how long does "innovation" take for competitors to catch up as it's already been innovated.  All they need to do now is "copy" in a legal manner which maybe they can't.   Like a said, when cutting cost comes first you ususaly can't produce an "innovative" product even four years after debut.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
1/6/2014 | 10:41:46 AM
Re: More low end junk?
The problem is that innovation in the market is stalling. You can only make these things so light and thin before the "improvements" become redundant. Sure they can get more powerful, but for what? Only a small market of tablet users (even less so than desktop or laptop owners) uses them for high-end gaming, in which case, as long as your tablet can multitask, is comfortable to hold and can watch HD video, you won't care how thin it gets or how many GFLOPS the GPU is capable of.

However cutting costs to make something everyone can afford is a smart plan as it opens up whole new markets for the manufacturers. 
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
1/6/2014 | 9:31:12 AM
More low end junk?
The world has plenty of low end tablets and more to come.  HP also just announced their next round of "low end" tables.  Dell has done the same.  It's now over 3-1/2 years after the fist iPad hit the market and Acer (nor anyone else for that matter) still does not produce a Windows or Android tablet that competes feature for feature with iPad tables at their price point.  The Nexus 10, Samsung Tab3 and the Kindle HDX come close but still fall short.  The Surface Pro 2 matches in features but is double the price and double the weight of an iPad Air. So why can no one create a competing product after almost four years on the market?
PaulS681
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PaulS681,
User Rank: Ninja
1/5/2014 | 6:42:42 PM
Rise of tablets
 This is good news. We need more options for tablets. I believe tablets will become more popular as they drop in price. I myself would opt for a Windows tablet over a droid but it's all users preference.
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