In the tech business, there are always accusations of somebody copying Apple in one form or another, whether it’s Apple itself leveling the accusations or its legions of supporters. This time, Acer has taken that to another level with the introduction of AcerCloud at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. From the names of the components to the promotional imagery, Acer seems to have set out to clone Apple’s iCloud as precisely as possible.
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The American Customer Satisfaction Index rates various industries and companies for–you can probably figure this out on your own–customer satisfaction, based on a poll of 70,000 consumers. It’s released its latest numbers for the PC industry, and there are no surprises: Apple has a clear lead on everybody else that the survey has enough data about to rate.
Here are the ratings for 2011, on a scale of 100. (Unfortunately, there are some major players that it doesn’t have specific data for, such as Lenovo, Sony, and Toshiba–they’re part of “All Others.”)
With all due respect to Steve Jobs, I’ve never been convinced by his stance that 7″ tablets are a bad idea. But I haven’t been able to mount a convincing case that he’s wrong, either. The original 7″ Samsung Galaxy Tab suffered from using a version of Android meant for phones. RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook had even bigger problems. Neither one was a 7-incher you could use to refute Jobs’ argument. On the other hand, though, it was factors other than their screen size that hurt them–so I continue to hold out hope that someone will make a 7″ tablet that’s just plain nice.
No surprise: Acer has announced a tablet running Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. The Iconia Tab A500′s specs are what is starting to become standard fare: a 10.1″ display, a dual-core 1-GHz Nvidia processor with integrated GeForce graphics and 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. The Iconia weighs 1.69 pounds and is .52″ thick, specs which indicate that it’s a product of the pre-iPad 2 era. Battery life is quoted as “eight hours of playback for casual games, eight hours of HD video playback and 10 hours of WiFi Internet browsing,” which, I’m guessing, translates into “decent but not quite as good as the iPad 2.”
Unlike some preannounced Honeycomb tablets (coughSamsung), the Iconia will be available soon: it’s a Best Buy exclusive, and Acer says it’ll be available for preorder on April 14th and will go on sale on April 24th. It’s also got the sort of pricetag you’d expect from Acer–one that’s a tad cheaper than the competition, at $449.99.
Oh, and while Acer is saying that it will run Flash, it’s not going to come with it at first. Judging from my experience with Honeycomb Flash in its current form, that isn’t a tragedy.
I usually don’t write much about executive shuffles at big PC companies here (well, at least not unless they’re weird), but I’m sorry to see Acer’s CEO, Gianfranco Lanci, go. I met him on a few occasions, and he seemed to have been the rare exec who didn’t get the memo about the importance of being bland and inoffensive. (Classic example: He didn’t mince words when it came to assessing Windows Vista.)
Last week I wistfully wondered when we’ll see more 7-inch tablets running proper tablet operating systems. Acer might be one to deliver with the Iconia A100, GigaOM’s Kevin Tofel reports. It’s launching in the United Kingdom in April, but no word on a U.S. release date.
If you weren’t at our Last Gadget Standing event at CES last month, here’s a chance to see the demo that won it all in the applause-o-meter audience voting: the company was Acer and its gadget was the Iconia two-screen laptop. The theme? Watch for yourself!
(The Acer folks shot this video record of their win.) Also seen in the clip: LGS creator Robin Raskin, celebrity cohosts Jon Hein and Gary Dell’Abate, Laptop Magazine’s Avram Piltch, and…me.
Yesterday, a spate of stores reported that an Acer sales executive had predicted the slow death of netbooks as tablets take off. Some took the news as an opportunity to tap-dance on the netbook’s grave. But now Acer is saying that it was all a big misunderstanding.
Dozens of companies that will be demonstrating their products at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show nominated themselves for the Last Gadget Standing competition. We judges whittled the contenders down to 25 semi-finalists. And now we’ve cut down that list to ten finalists who will get to show their stuff at our event at CES in Las Vegas next week. One of them will be…the last gadget standing.
Now that we’ve identified our semi-finalists for the Last Gadget Standing event at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show, we’d like your input on some of the contenders. There aren’t any direct competitors among them–many of the products, in fact, are pretty darn unique.
We do, however, have two Windows portables. There’s Acer’s Iconia, which ditches a physical keyboard in favor of a second screen that can display information or serve as a ten-finger multitouch keyboard. And there’s Asus’s U36Jc, which looks far more conventional than the Iconia but packs components–an Intel i5 CPU and discrete Nvidia graphics–which you might not expect to find in a thin-and-light laptop with a 13″ display.
Two interesting-but-very-different machines. Your take, please: