At its global press conference here in New York, Acer has unveiled a number of new touchscreen centric products including three new tablets, a smartphone, two new software platforms, and a dual screen laptop/tablet.
Of most interest to our minds is the 7in tablet that runs Android and packs in a 1,280 x 800 pixel screen, front and rear facing cameras, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, Adobe Flash support, and HDMI. That screen resolution is higher than most other tablets of the same size so this tablet has great potential for leaping to the head of the pack, though as ever Acer will have to marry that headline figure with good quality to actually make for an attractive product.
Ignoring our insistence that the iPad is already too big, Acer is also releasing a 10in Android tablet that sports similar capabilities as its 7in brother but with a few key features turned up to 11. it's powered by Nvidia's Tegra 2 platform so 1080p video playback is supported, though there's no word on the screen resolution. The headline feature, however, is 10-point multitouch support, allowing for a whole other level of touchscreen interaction. The company sees this as being a big boon for gaming, though, we're less sure of how much use this will be on a tablet.
Both Android products will be available in April 2011 and in case you were wondering, no Acer hasn't actually given them official names yet.
Where this touchscreen tech will potentially be of more use is the new Iconia product that uses two touchscreens arranged in a laptop form factor. It's not a new concept but with the 10-point touch sensing, it has potential to be a more usable device than previous attempts. One advantage is a custom software keyboard that will potentially allow for true high-speed touch typing. Rather cleverly it will pop up automatically when you place your hands in a typing position. Similarly, tap five fingers on the screen and the Acer ring will appear, which is a wheel of custom option for accessing touch oriented programs and features.
The Iconia is a 14in model and the screens will have a resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels and be finished in tough Gorilla Glass. In every other sense it's a fairly typical laptop of this size. It will run on Intel Core i5 processors and has plenty of conecctivity including 3xUSB, HDMI, VGA, headphone and microphone jacks, and even an Ethernet port.
Also debuted is a new 4.8in Android smartphone and a 10in Windows 7 tablet that will come with a keyboard-equipped dock, runs AMDs next-generation platform, and be arriving February.
To accompany these products the company has also announced the launch of a new content platform, Acer Alive. As with all such platforms, the idea is to provide easy access to a variety of digital content portals like 7digital, Acetrax, Muzu and Intel (with its AppUp program). We're always sceptical of these platforms as they tend to just add another layer of complication to using a device but we'll see how this one turns out when we get to have a proper go. Alive launches in the UK on 20th december on Windows 7 clients and be cross operating system by Q1 2011.
Also announced is clear.fi, which is a media sharing system that enables you to seamlessly sync and share your content across a variety of different devices. The vision is that as soon as you take a photo on your phone or edit a video on your PC you will be instantly able to access that content on all the other clear.fi products on your home network. As with Alive, the concept is laudable but the proof of the pudding will be in the implementation.
We'll be back soon with hands-on reviews of the Iconia and 10in Android tablet.