Acer has shown Iconia devices in three different sizes at the Mobile World Congress being held this week in Barcelona. The smallest is an Android smartphone with a 4.8-inch screen. The bigger versions are Android 3.0 tablets, with 7-inch and 10.1-inch screens, and the range is topped out with the 10.1-inch running Microsoft Windows 7. Like the Asus model shown earlier this year, the 10.1-inch tablet can dock to a keyboard.
The Iconia Smart is a dual-camera smartphone with a curvy body and hardware keys for Home, Search, Back, and Menu. It can pretty much handle the whole web, much like a netbook, since the screen resolution is 1024 x 480 pixels and it ships with the Android version of Adobe Flash 10.1. There is an 8 megapixel camera with an LED flash for taking photos, with a front-facing 2MP front camera for video chat. The processor is a 1GHz Snapdragon.
Acer describes the Iconia Smart as "100% Smartphone, 100% Tablet" and says it will be available in the UK from May 1.
Acer Iconia Smart phone/tablet
The next step up is the dual-camera Acer Iconia TAB A100, which has a 7-inch 1024 x 600 pixel screen and runs Goggle Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). The A100 has four "software hubs" for games, e-books (Zinio, Nook, LumiRead etc), multimedia and social networking. In this case, there's a 5MP auto-focus camera for photography plus the usual 2MP front-facing camera for chat. The processor is a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2, and there's also a GeForce graphics processor with Flash 10.1 support to deliver high-end performance.
Acer reckons it should be available in the UK at the end of April.
The Iconia TAB A500 version has a 10.1-inch 1280 x 768 pixel screen and also runs Android 3.0. The processor and camera specs are the same as for the A500. However, the WXGA screen means you can watch HD videos without piping them out through the HDMI port, and it's obviously better for games. (Yes, when linked to a TV set, it will play 1080p videos.)
Finally there's the Iconia TAB W500, where the W indicates that it runs Microsoft Windows 7. It's not the same hardware as the A500: it uses an AMD C-50 processor with Radeon HD6250 graphics. The W500 also slots into an optional keyboard dock that includes an Acer FineTrack pointing device with two mouse buttons, an Ethernet port, and a USB port.
Windows 7 is multi-touch capable but designed for stylus rather than clumsy finger operation, so Acer provides Acer Ring software as a front end. The Ring (seen previously on the Iconia dual-screen laptop) is used to launch touch applications such as SocialJogger, My Journal (to store clippings), and the TouchBrowser. Acer says:
"The W500 brings together the user-friendliness of the tablet with the familiarity of the PC, letting users enjoy the greatest entertainment or be productive, at home or on the go, according to their needs. The Iconia TAB W500 effectively creates a bridge between the worlds of entertainment and productivity."
The W500 will be available in the UK early March with a recommended price of £449 inc VAT. This rises to £529 with the keyboard dock.
Acer Iconia W500 Windows 7 tablet with keyboard dock. The screen shows the Acer Ring user interface