Acer readying $99 Android tablet for emerging markets, plus cheaper Windows 8 tablet

Acer readying $99 Android tablet for emerging markets, plus cheaper Windows 8 tablet

Summary: The computer maker is planning to undercut the pricing of the Amazon Kindle Fire and other 7-inch competitors with a new model next year, but there are no official plans to bring it to the U.S. It could also introduce a less expensive Intel-based Windows 8 tablet.

TOPICS: Tablets, Android

Now that just about everyone and their brother is selling tablets, the inevitable price wars will begin. Acer is off to an early start, according a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ is reporting that Acer is planning to launch the Iconia B1 Android tablet for just $99, a major price cut compared to 7-inch tablets like the $159 Amazon Kindle Fire. Unfortunately for U.S. consumers, the company is currently planning on releasing the Iconia B1 in emerging markets, though it has submitted the tablet to the FCC. The launch is designed to combat Asus' rumored low-price Android slate, which is supposedly also due next year, though an Asus spokesperson denied such reports.

The new budget tablet for developing economies marks a pivot for Acer in its tablet strategy. According to the Journal's unnamed source, the company is shifting from higher-profit devices as competitors like the Google Nexus 10 drag prices down.

Acer's push for cheaper tablets isn't limited to the Iconia B1. Another source told the Journal that the company is developing a new Intel-based Windows 8 tablet as its current versions are "too pricey." These include the Iconia W510, which is selling for $549 and up, and the Iconia W700, which starts at $800.

Even if the Iconia B1 never reaches American shores, the day when a major manufacturer releases a $99 tablet in the United States will soon be upon us. There are too many players in the market, and someone will be desparate enough to take the plunge in order to move units. Maybe it will be Acer after all, or another Android proponent like Lenovo. Or maybe Amazon will finally take the leap, and drop the Kindle Fire to an ad-supported $100.

Topics: Tablets, Android

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  • OMG! Apple is doomed

    $99 is the death knell for the iPad Mini. Short AAPL now.
    • RE: OMG! Apple is doomed

      Apple will continue to do just fine in the premium consumer and enterprise tablet markets, even as its overall market share declines.

      Tablets in the remaining 2010's will be like calculators in the latter 1970's: cheap and ubiquitous. This is Android's primary future on tablets. It's unlikely that Android will, ultimately, grab a sizable share of the premium consumer tablet market (even if there are some very nice and capable premium Android tablets on the market today). It's also unlikely that Android will find a niche in the enterprise market, save for the military and intelligence services (due to Android's open-source nature, e.g., see SEAndroid).

      While it's possible that Microsoft may eventually gain a respectable share in the enterprise tablet market, they've pretty much lost the consumer market as their kit is just too expensive. Android has already won the sub-premium consumer market. (Good thing for Microsoft that they get a patent-related payment for most Android-based devices that are sold.) And Apple has already won the premium consumer tablet market. Sorry, Microsoft, you're just too late and Apple is MUCH better at marketing and advertising (even without Steve Jobs) than you are.

      Finally, Microsoft has waited far too long in porting Microsoft Office to iOS and Android. Many mobile device users have discovered alternate office suites and apps that provide adequate functionality much more cheaply. Just think, had the U.S. DOJ split Microsoft into an operating systems company and an applications company approximately 10 years ago, Microsoft Office would likely be the dominant office suite on iOS- and Android-based mobile devices today and into the future.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Yes, but

        Here's a simpler way of putting it for the common-sense challenged: People who are buying iPads don't need to even consider a $99 device.

        Apple doesn't need to worry about the cheap $99 tablets, but is probably worried about the $400 premium tablets made by Samsung and Asus. It's not happened yet, but it *could* happen that people with the $ to buy a premium tablet will prefer an android one versus the iPad. If what's happening with the SGS III is any indication, that is a plausible scenario for apple.
        • What could happen

          It seems likely that the premium market will go to Windows tablets as they more capable than the ios and Android tablets which have similar and lesser capabilities. It will be fun to watch. Besides improvements in the software I think we will continue to see the hardware get better, particularly the screens and battery life.
          Schoolboy Bob
          • RE: ios and Android tablets which have similar and lesser capabilities

            In your mind.
    • Not really...

      Apple has always targeted the high end. Their ecosystem offsets for a higher price as customers know, first hand, what to expect for a pricier tablet. Android, on the other hand, is a riskier bet, offset by the discount. In that sense, Amazon has less to loose than Google.

      The real looser is Microsoft, which will have no head room left when they decide to release a Surface RT 7.
  • ok

    pretty much this tablet
    Henrique Dourado
  • It's logical

    The emerging market together make up more than 70% of the global population, so it makes sense to cater to that enormous segment. After all, that's where most of the young people live. The fact is that if you can get the emerging markets to participate as part of the tablet market, you'll essentially dominate in terms of global market share regardless of what's happening in Western countries.
  • Gotta love how folks think tablet pricing is completely

    arbitrary and you can price a tablet at $99 simply because you want to in order to sell to poor people. Then reality comes knocking and you realize the only way to get to that $99 point is to use cheap, junk components. This tablet will be an utter piece of garbage.
    • Nonsense

      Nonsense. ACER isn't going to release a crap tablet. A $99.00 tablet isn't going to be an iPad killer, but it'll almost certainly be a viable, usable device. My guess is it will be a 7" WiFi only device with an 800x480 screen, or maybe a 1024x600 screen. It will come with 8Gb of flash storage and 512K of RAM. It'll run a previous generation dual core processor or maybe even a Tegra 3. It's not going to make you want to dump your Nexus 7, but it will be a fine device for a guy who maybe earns $100 a week and wants something that'll get him on the internet.
      • Not far from the truth

        From what i've read elsewhere it WILL have a 1024x600 screen screen 1.2ghz dual core cpu and 512mb of ram, and for those of us in emerging markets who waited in vain for asus to bring over the nexus7 this will be a welcome development
        • HTC Flyer

          Those specs are very similar to my HTC Flyer. And it was a great tablet. I see no reason why this $99.00 tablet can't be a nice, capable machine.
      • Acer has already released a junk tablet...

        my sister picked one up from Walmart ... the iconia tab quad core 10 " tablet. I own a Surface and my brother owns many iPads, and we were both floored at how poor the screen quality was, and the OS froze several times while we were setting it up. That tablet sells for about $300... I can only imagine what a $99 Acer tablet will look like. Sounds perfect for a developing nation that cannot afford decent equipment.
    • There are already $89 7" tablets in the US

      I bought one. It's surprisingly good. It's not an iPad, it's not a Transformer or Nexus 7. But it works fine.
    • Gotta love how folks think a tablet actually needs to cost $600.

      Sure, there are limits to how much you can build for $100, but most of the pricing until now for phones and tablets (upwards of $600+ in many cases) border on extortion. A decently equipped notebook with a 13+ inch screen, gigs of memory and gobs of storage space, CD/DVD burner, a relatively fast processor AND a licensed FULL operating system can be had for about $350.

      People are insane if they think a 4 inch phone or a 7 inch tablet with a comparatively anemic processor, a few gigs of flash memory and a free OS actually needs to cost what's being charged. The truth is that it's simply a hot category and manufacturers are raking in profits on high demand.
    • The Raspberry Pi model B sells for $35.00 and it's not junk.

      It a credit card sized motherboard with Ethernet, 2 USB ports, HDMI, VGA, audio and runs on 5V @ 1 amp.

      It will play blue ray quality graphics at 1080p. It uses a class 10 SD card for the OS (only Linux) and the swap file that you define on the SD card actually acts as additional RAM. The default RAM on the Raspberry Pi is 512M.

      Electronic components, including electro-mechanical servos used in DVD and CD players are the same, weather you by a 50$unit or a $300 unit.

      Acer equipment is quality, you can buy replacement parts for it, and it's a tremendous value. They are No. 1 in Asia.
  • $99 android tablets ALREADY available in the US market

    "the day when a major manufacturer releases a $99 tablet in the United States will soon be upon us" ... guess the craig 7 inch android tablet that you can pick up at this price point does not count as a "major manufacturer"
    • Brands sellling "cheap-tablets"right now

      MachSpeed, Archos, Pandigital, AGPtek, Coby, Chromo Inc, Elsse

      All of them are crapware with horrendous reviews and lots of complains from actual owners.
      • Don't judge so harshly

        They're OK, used within their limitations. My Nook isn't great. On the other hand all I need it for is to display photos for which it is perfect.
        • It's probably cheaper and works better than...

          ... a dedicated digital picture frame.