Acer will launch an Android-powered slate before the year is out with the 7 inch touchscreen tablet also sporting a QWERTY keypad and embedded 3G.
Unveilled at Acer’s Source Home global press conference in Beijing Acer CEO and president Gianfranco Lanci told APC the slate would arrive in Q4 â€œwhich probably means September or Octoberâ€ and like many other Android devices would have a customised user interface rather than Android’s plain vanilla UI.
Lanci admits the tablet is similar to an iPad â€œfrom a concept point of view it’s just a different sizeâ€ â€“ but Acer believes smaller is better.
â€œWe are not convinced that 10 inches is the right size for this type of device. It becomes too close to a netbook in size and why should it not be a netbook with full PC capability?â€
The as yet-unnamed tablet will also include 3G for wireless Internet access. â€œWe see 3G as an important part of the deviceâ€ affirmed Lanci. â€œWe’re not looking just at Wi-Fi you need both Wi-Fi and 3Gâ€.
Lanci told APC that the Android OS was chosen as the best fit for the device’s primary uses of â€œbooks music and videos browsing the Internet email and chatting.â€
â€œAndroid is very good in terms of Internet browsing and connectivity. You can run it on an ARM processor at a certain speed and Android is light enough not to overload the CPUâ€.
Lanci said that Acer was committed to open source operating systems for these kinds of device. But unlike HP’s recent acquisition of Palm’s WebOS for its forthcoming Slate â€œwe are not thinking to do our own operating system. Our own user interface yes â€“ and maybe our own middleware we are working on certain things â€“ but not our own operating system.â€
â€œHP decided to go with WebOS and buy Palm because they have the same consideration (as Acer). But in our opinion and from a user point of view open source is a better solution than a proprietary system. This is no longer a Wintel world.â€
David Flynn is attending Acer’s Source Home conference in Beijing as a guest of Acer Computer Australia.