December 25, 2012
Acer May Release Their Own 7-inch, $99 Tablet
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
As device manufacturers begin to scratch and claw for every bit of footing they can get in the booming tablet market, it appears as if price may soon become the bloodiest of battlefields. Apple clearly has no intention to fight here, choosing instead to not only occupy the premium tablet market, but completely dominate it as well.
Both Amazon and Google on the other hand have fought to capture the low price market this year, releasing sub-$200 Android-based tablets.
According to the Wall Street Journal, there will soon be another contestant on this field as Acer is preparing to release their own $99 tablet. Citing a "Person With Direct Knowledge of the Project," the Journal is reporting that Acer could release such a tablet as soon as early next year, taking on their much larger competitors as they look to developing markets.
Rumored to be known as the Iconia B1, this tablet is said to have a 7-inch, 1024 x 600 resolution screen with a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor ticking underneath. All told, the Journal claims this tablet will have similar specs to Amazon´s Kindle Fire as well as Barnes & Noble´s Nook Color.
Though the final price of the Iconia B1 will be determined by the country it´s being sold in, Acer hopes to cut down their competition with that $99 price tag.
Though the Journal´s source has said these tablets will be aimed at developing markets, the Iconia B1 has also been submitted to the FCC for US clearance. It is yet unknown if this tablet will ever be sold Stateside, though based on the reported quickness with which this tablet is being developed, it seems likely Acer has an eye towards the American market as well.
The Wall Street Journal also claims their source has said Acer “hastily” began working on such a tablet this fall after competitors had released their aggressively priced tablet options. Focusing on the lower-margin market in developing countries is a bit of a different tack for Acer, who has recently been looking to more expensive products in hopes to boost their profit margins.
“In the past few months, we´ve made project roadmap changes in response to big changes in the tablet market,” explained the Journal´s source.
“The launch of the Nexus 10 (made by Google Inc. And Samsung Electronics Co. with a US $399 starting price) has changed the outlook for what makes competitive pricing.”
The Iconia B1 has already seen some time in the rumor mill and has made its way through some forums. These photos have been called “authentic” by other People Familiar With the Matter.
The Journal also notes that Acer is also planning to aim for the lower-end market with their Windows 8 offerings as well, calling their current tablets “too pricey.”
Though reducing their margins will affect their profits, one analyst has told the Journal that it will be worth it to capture a foothold in China.
“Chinese white-box tablet makers are expected to sell some 60 million tablets next year, so it is a really big market,” explained Daiwa Securities Analyst Christina Wang.
“None of the major PC brands sells a tablet right now priced to compete with them right now.”