With rivals like ASUSTek Computer, Inc. (TPE:2357) previewing sleek ARM-powered Windows 8 RT tablets/laptops/hybrids at Computex 2012 in Taiwan, some have been taking note that Acer, Inc.’s (TPE:2353) Windows 8 product line is devoid of any ARM-processor models.
Acer chairman Zhentang “J.T.” Wang told reporters Monday that the absence is no mere coincidence. He commented, “According to engineer studies, unless we go into ARM 64-bit, otherwise performance is still not so great. ARM is a newcomer, young and attractive but it takes some time.”
Part of Acer’s decision is also based on timing. Windows 8 RT products are expected to be a relative rarity for holiday 2012, coming in earnest in Q1 2013. By contrast Windows 8 x86 devices including tablets, laptops, hybrids, and desktops, will begin shipping in August, reaching volume by September.
While Acer is lending its support to ARM critics and skeptics, it’s completely unwilling to join in the criticism-fest regarding Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) more touch-centric Windows 8. States Mr. Wang, “I have never been so supportive to Microsoft. We have a good opportunity to grow again after the Windows 8 launch. Acer is fully committed to deliver a full line of Windows 8 products.”
Acer’s J.T. Wang is a big fan of Intel chips — ARM, not so much. [Image Source: Komplett]
Acer and others are almost salivating at the prospect of premium-priced tablets, hybrids, and Ultrabooks using Intel Corp.’s (INTC) new Ivy Bridge and Atom chip designs. Part of the appeal is that Windows devices are expected to hit the kinds of price points only Apple, Inc. (AAPL) used to occupy.
Badly burned by the netbook craze and its subsequent collapse, Acer’s has transformed its lineup showing off sleek Windows 8 devices with Apple-like case-aesthetics. Acer’s slides point to a $1,000 USD target price for its Ultrabooks and $1,800 USD price point for its hybrid tablet/laptops.
The only troubling news from Acer is that it dropped its Ultrabook outlook from 15-25 percent of its shipments, to only 12-25 percent. Whether that forecast is indicative of drooping demand remains to be seen.
One danger Acer faces is being undercut by rivals like Hewlett Packard, Comp. (HPQ) who are willing to sell ultrathins at $600 USD or lower, powered by ARM Holdings plc (LON:ARM) cores or by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) accelerated processing units (APUs).
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