Acer plans to take on Apple's iPad in the first half of next year with the release of two Android-based tablets and one running Windows.
Acer, which has seen its lucrative netbook business slow as the market turns to tablets, introduced Tuesday at a New York news conference a Windows and Android system that will each have a 10.1-inch touch screen. Acer's second Android tablet will have a 7-inch screen.
The 10.1-inch models will have front and rear cameras, and all three tablets will have Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. A docking system with a full-size keyboard will be available with the Windows system, which is scheduled to ship in February. The Android tablets are set for release in April.
Acer did not release the names or pricing for the new products.
In recent years, Acer has grown in the PC market with low-cost laptops, particularly netbooks, which are mini-laptops that typically sell for less than $500. However, the iPad, which Apple released in April, has already shown that tablets are likely to significantly hurt netbook sales.
Forrester Research predicts that tablet-style computers like the iPad will outsell netbooks in 2012. By 2015, tablets will outsell netbooks and desktops combined, accounting for 23% of PCs sold to consumers, according to Forrester.
In releasing the iPad, Apple proved there was a large consumer demand for tablets by selling more than 2 million units in the first 80 days. As a result, other computer makers are scrambling to release their own products. Besides Acer, Samsung Electronics recently started selling the 7-inch Galaxy Tab, and Research In Motion (maker of the BlackBerry), Hewlett-Packard and others have announced plans for products to compete with Apple.
Meanwhile, Acer on Tuesday unveiled a dual-screen, Intel-based laptop called the Iconia. In addition, the company introduced media-sharing technology called Clear.fi that will let people share content wirelessly between devices in the home.