Acer enters crowded North American tablet market

Acer America Corp. formally entered the competitive North American tablet market this month, by launching its Iconia Tab A500 and Iconia Tab W500 tablets. Both tablets feature a 10.1 inch screen, the same size as many other tablets, including Apple‘s iPad.

The A500 runs Android Honeycomb 3.0 and is available for pre-order in Canada. It will be available in stores in Canada this May for roughly $500. Though the A500 can link to company e-mail, it is more designed for the consumer market, especially those who already use Android smartphones and “those people who love to play Angry Birds,” says Frank Chang, director for product management at Acer America.

The W500, on the other hand, runs Windows 7, and targets the commercial market, or users that already are using Windows, Chang says.

“We’re trying to capture the opportunity on both sides,” he says. “On the Windows side, we haven’t seen anyone addressing this particular price segment,” he adds. The W500 will sell for between $550 and $619 in Canada and is currently available through channel partners and retailers. The A500’s advantage is also a cheaper price point, since it’s at least $100 cheaper than other Android tablets, including the Motorola Xoom.

Acer has already had some pre-sales with the tablets, and Chang says he sees the tablets as a good opportunity for channel partners.

“Demand has exceeded supply in both consumer and business market,” he says, as the tablets are already selling well in other parts of the world. “The current backlog is actually more than we can supply right now,” he says.

He does acknowledge the highly competitive nature of the tablet industry, though. “We don’t know who will be the clear winner going forward,” Chang says. “Hardware-wise, we’re addressing some of the shortcomings,” he says, including SD slots and HDMI ports. The tablets also support Flash and use WiFi technology, but aren’t 3G or 4G enabled.

Though competition on the consumer side is aggressive, on the business end, Acer’s tablet will stand up, Chang says. Margins on the W500 are much higher than standard industry margins for PCs, he says, though he couldn’t give a specific number.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh
Harmeet reports on channel partner programs, new technologies and products and other issues relevant to Canada's channel community. She also contributes as a video journalist, providing content for the site's original streaming video. Harmeet is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism.

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