Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Acer adds 7" Iconia Tab A100 to tablet lineup, $330

In the same week that we find out HP’s 7-inch tablet TouchPad Go is almost launch-ready, Acer announces its own 7-inch Iconia Tab A100, which is available exclusively from Walmart starting today.

Besides sharing the same display size as the likes of RIM PlayBook and HTC Flyer, the A100 is subtly different from its competitors. For one thing, it’s the first North American slate to run Android Honeycomb 3.2, which is geared for 7-inch screens, so it should provide a better user experience than the smartphone OS (Android 2.4 Gingerbread ) that shipped with the HTC Flyer.

Touted as a mobile entertainment device, the mini Iconia Tab comes pre-loaded with Adobe Flash 10.3, Acer LumiRead, Google Books eReading apps, as well as Acer’s media sharing platform that links up all DLNA-compliant devices so users can access their files wirelessly.

Other technical specs of the A100 include:

  • Display: 7-inch TFT WSVGA, 1024×600 resolution, 16:10 aspect ratio with 75-degree wide viewing angle
  • CPU: NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core
  • GPU: Ultra Low Power GeForce
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Cameras: 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash and can record HD 720p videos in camcorder mode; 2-megapixel front camera
  • Ports/Connectors: 1 HDMI port, 1 microUSB port, and a Micro-SD card reader
  • Connectivity: Acer InviLink Nplify 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED, Bluetooth
  • Battery: 1530 mAh Li-polymer battery for up to five hours
  • Dimensions: 0.5-inch thick
  • Weight: 0.92 pounds

The A100 is priced very competitively, starting at just $330 for the 8 GB, Wi-Fi only model. Because the slate has a built-in a Micro-SD card slot, it can get away with providing less internal storage space to keep its price tag relatively low. (The 16 GB, Wi-Fi-only PlayBook, by contrast, is retailing for $499 at Best Buy — I’m pretty sure an 8 GB Micro-SD card does not cost $170.) For those looking for more on-board storage capacity, the 16 GB A100 will set you back $350.

While I can understand the appeal of the 7-inch form factor from tech companies’ point of view: many already have a 10-inch tablet in their lineup, so shrinking the design by a couple of inches allows them to offer a similar product at a more budget-friendly price point. But are consumers interested in tablets at this size? Wouldn’t 7-inch slates be competing with e-readers like the Nook Color?

What do you think? Is a 7-inch tablet with a lower price tag like the A100 more enticing than a larger 10-inch slate that costs a bit more money?


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