Acer Preps Media Tablet with $99 Price-Tag

Acer’s New Iconia B1 Slate to Fight Kindle Fire and Nook Tablets

by Anton Shilov
12/26/2012 | 09:58 PM

Acer Group, a leading supplier of personal computers, has so far been unable to secure a significant share of the media tablet market. However, starting from early 2013 the situation may change dramatically, as the company intends to release a slate with $99 price-tag. The tablet will feature previous-gen technologies and will fight Amazon’s Kindle Fire and B&N Nook tablet.

 

Amazon’s Iconia B1 tablet will be powered by a dual-core application processor clocked at 1.20GHz. Quite logically, the slate will feature 7” screen with 1024*768 resolution. Acer’s plan is to sell the Iconia B1 for just $99, which is lower than $139 price-point, at which both Amazon Kindle Fire and B&N Nook are available, reports the Wall Street Journal. Naturally, the slate will utilize Google Android operating system.

The tablet will be aimed mostly on emerging markets, but will likely be available in developed countries as well; for example, Acer has already submitted the Iconia B1 for certification at FCC.

Both Amazon and B&N make losses by selling tablet hardware, but then gain profit by selling software, books, music, videos and other content. Acer has nothing to sell, hence, should sell hardware with a profit. The manufacturer specifically designed a tablet with very entry-level specification to ensure that it can be sold at a profit. The company clearly understood that it should design an ultra-low-cost solution so that to avoid competition with things like Apple iPad mini or Google Nexus 10”.

“In the past few months, we’ve made project roadmap changes in response to big changes in the tablet market. The launch of the Nexus 10 and Samsung Electronics with a US$399 starting price has changed the outlook for what makes competitive pricing,” a source at Acer told WSJ.

According to market rumours, Asustek Computer had teamed up with Via Technologies to design a low-cost media tablet with around $99 price-point. Officially, Asus has never confirmed the plan.

“Chinese white-box tablet makers are expected to sell some 60 million tablets next year, so it is a really big market. None of the major PC brands sells a tablet right now priced to compete with them right now,” said Christine Wang, an analyst with Daiwa Securities.

Acer did not comment on the news-story.