Acer Will Enter Tablet Market with Windows and Android

Acer has taken the cover off its first-ever line of tablet computers. Acer will compete in a market Apple’s iPad owns — and in which Samsung and Research In Motion are competing for second place — with a somewhat different approach.

Acer will enter the market in early 2011 with not one, not two, but three tablet models. Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system will power one Acer 10.1-inch tablet, while Google’s Android OS will run a seven-inch tablet and a second 10.1-inch model.

Acer isn’t stopping there with Android. The company also announced a 4.8-inch smartphone that runs Android, as well as a dual 14-inch PC called the Iconia Touchbook. Iconia is a hybrid between a notebook and a touchscreen tablet. The new products mark Acer’s move to the next phase of technology.

Competitive Moves

“Acer is a particularly interesting player,” said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. “In the desktop and portable computing space, the company was considered to be one of the Asian also-ran companies for years and years. But Acer radically reimagined itself with its move into the netbook space two years ago.”

By reimagined, King is referring to Acer’s move beyond the conventional wisdom of the notebook market. Acer was quick to market with a variety of netbooks and proved it could compete with larger vendors. In fact, King said, Acer put the big boys on the defensive with its netbook strategy.

“In the tablet market, the conventional wisdom seems to be lined up behind Apple. What’s cool about Acer is they’ve got nothing to lose here,” King said. “The tablet market is in its infancy.”

Seeing What Sticks

Although Apple has 95 percent of the tablet market, according to Strategy Analytics, there’s plenty of room to grow. The firm also predicts that 90 percent of iPad buyers will come from consumers…

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