The struggles of Taiwanese computer and gadgetmaker Acer, Inc. (TPE:2353) have been well documented.
CEO and chairman J.T. Wang in Dec. 2011 summarized the mess his company was in remarking that Acer products were “cheap” and “unprofitable”. The company has fantasized about being more like Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and even issued bold threats to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) over the decision to launch the Surface tablet. However, Acer appears far from Apple-like performance earning little profit; and its tablets have failed to compete in the market, giving little reason to take its Surface comments seriously.
But Acer is looking to breathe some life into its struggling line with a broad refresh announced today.
I. New Notebooks
The refresh brings new notebook computers — the Aspire V5 and V7 — a new hybrid Windows 8 laptop, the Aspire R7; a new ultrabook, the Aspire P3, and a pair of budget Android Iconia tablets.
The Aspire V5 and V7 line refresh brings NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) GT7xxM Kepler graphics. The V5 and V7 are available with five kinds of screens — a 15.6-inch 1080p (1920×1080 pixel) screen, a 15.6-inch “standard definition” (1366×768 pixel) screen, a 14-inch 1080p display, a 14-inch std. def. display, and a multi-touch-enabled 11.6-inch (1366×768 pixel) display. The larger form factors feature four speakers with Dolby audio, while the smaller 11.6-inch model boasts a 3 lb. weight. The V7 is essentially Acer’s low end Ultrabooks and are identical to the V5 other than adding some new ports, SSD support, and a “silky touch” bottom finish.
(The Aspire V5 11.6-inch)
(The Aspire V7 15.6-inch)
The P3 Ultrabooks is 0.77-in. (19.55 mm) — significantly thicker than the 3 to 17 mm thickness of Apple’s latest MacBook Air. It weighs 3.03 lb (about 27 percent heavier than the air), and packs the same 11.6-inch touch display as the V5/V7. It comes with 60 or 120 GB SSD options; a 720p front-facing webcam; a 5MP rear camera; and Intel Corp. (INTC) Core i3 or i5 procesosrs. Starting price for the i3-equipped, 60 GB SSD model is $799.99 USD.
(The Aspire P3 Ultrabook 11.6-inch)
Lastly on the notebook front Acer is offering up a 15.6-inch 1080 convertible with an “Ezel hinge” that allows the touch screen to be repositioned over the keyboard or be put in full tablet mode. (The Aspire R715.6-inch)
The hybrid design allows the user to quickly pull forward the screen for touch interaction, then pop it back for standard typing. The laptop features an Intel Core i5 processor, 6GB of memory, a 500GB hard drive, a 24GB SSD, and the four Dolby 8-watt speakers. It will start shipping May 17, priced at $999.99 USD.
All of the new laptops feature backlit keyboards.
II. Android Iconia Line Gets Refreshed With Budget 7.x-inchers
Also announced was a pair of budget Android Jelly Bean tablets. The first, the Iconia A1 is headed to the North American market in June priced at $199.99 and packing a 7.9-inch (1024×768 pixel) display.
(The Iconia A1)
The budget design also packs a MediaTek Inc. (TPE:2454) quad-core 1.2 GHz ARM processor, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n wireless, front-facing and rear (5 MP) cameras, either 8 or 16 GB of NAND flash, microSD, and microUSB. The tablet weighs 0.90 lb and is 0.44-in (11.1 mm) thin.
The second tablet, the Iconia B1, is initially headed to Europe and Africa. It has a 7-inch display (1024×600 pixels), 1.2 GHz dual- or quad-core processor options from Mediatek, either 8 or 16 GB of NAND flash, microSD, front and rear cameras, identical wireless options to the A1, and the ability the ability to connect via a 3G modem in select models.
(The Iconia B1)
The Iconia B1 in its cheapest (dual-core, 8 GB NAND) receives similar budget pricing — €129 (Wi-Fi)/€179 (3G) (roughly $169 USD for the Wi-Fi, $234 USD for the 3G model).
Let us know your thoughts on this major Acer product rollout.
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