Usually, the only live press events which garner any attention are those by Apple, and sometimes those by Microsoft. This time around, though, Acer's been the center of attention, and it has paid off: the company has unveiled a boatload of interesting hardware - including a dual-screen laptop, a high-resolution Android phone, and several tablets.
Let's start with the tablets. Acer's betting on both Android and Windows 7, with machines in various sizes. The Android tablets come in 7" and 10.1" versions, both sporting the same 1280×800 resolution. The 10.1" model has a 1.0Ghz dual-core processor, while the 7" will have a crazy 1.2Ghz dual-core chip. They both have the usual connection options, as well as a gyroscope. Acer remains mum on the Android version (supposedly it'll be 3.0), but I think the current lack of a version of the operating system for tablets is the reason why Acer set the ship date for these at April 2011 (!).
A lot less is known about the Windows tablet, but we do know a few interesting tidbits. Most importantly, it'll run on AMD silicon instead of Intel's, which is interesting enough in and of itself. The device and its dock look stunning, but it won't ship until February 2011.
The Android smartphone announced by Acer is pretty mind-blowing. We're looking at a 4.8" display with a staggering 1024×480 resolution [ELQ's note: "not all that great actually"], all-metal enclosure, and the usual list of connection options. It also has two cameras, a six-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, and several other interesting items. This device, too, looks beautiful, but once again, won't ship until April 2011.
And now the most interesting and jaw-dropping announcement of all: the dual-screen Acer Iconia. Take a deep breath... "She's running Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) and is equipped with an Intel Core i5-480M/560M/580M CPU, up to 4GB of DDR3 memory, a pair of 14-inch multitouch displays (1366×768 resolution), integrated Intel HD graphics (128MB RAM), VGA/HDMI outputs, an inbuilt microphone and a S/PDIF interface," Engadget details, "There's also a 320/500/640/750GB hard drive, Acer's CrystalEye webcam (1280×1024 resolution), 802.11b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0+HS, integrated 3G WWAN, gigabit Ethernet, a four-cell battery and a total weight of 6.18 pounds. Closing things out, there are a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 jack and a one-year warranty."
Of course, the 'bottom' screen is packed with custom software, and in all honesty, it doesn't actually look bad at all - although Acer was honest enough to admit that typing on the multitouch display has somewhat of a learning curve (no kidding - after a year, I still can't type on my iPhone). There's some definitive Courier influences in there, and it might just be me, but doesn't this look and feel like WPF code?
No word on when this baby will be released, but judging by the video, it looks pretty close to a releasable product. In any case, this flurry of hardware announcements from Acer are pretty stunning, but obviously, being set for release so far in the future does lead to some wariness, especially in this industry riddled with vapourware and empty promises.