Acer bets on Android gaming with $300 Predator 8 tablet

Is the market ready for an 8-inch slate running Android 5.1 Lollipop designed for gamers? We'll find out starting in November.

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Acer has teased a gaming tablet for several months, but today the company has officially announced the Predator 8, an 8-inch $299.99 Android device that is designed specifically for gamers, at the same it unveiled a convertible Chromebook and a pair of Windows 10 smartphones.

Spec-wise, the Predator 8 seems like other premium Android slates, including the latest verison of Android -- 5.1 Lollipop -- an Intel Atom x7-8700 processor, 1,920x1,200 resolution display, 2GB of RAM, and either 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage. However, Acer has added a number of wrinkles that it believes will make the Predator a superior gaming tablet -- even if gaming-specific tablets haven't exactly caught on in the marketplace.

These include Predator TacSense, which provides tactile feedback while you are playing games, Predator ColorBlast, which Acer says will support 100 percent of the NTSC color gamut, and Predator Quadio, four front-facing speakers that deliver simulated surround sound. The company has worked with Gameloft to make sure its Asphalt 8 racing title works with TacSense, and the Predator 8 will come with 320,000 game credits pre-loaded. Of course, it wouldn't be a "gaming" tablet without the design touches that set it apart from other devices, as you can see in the image above.

Acer promises a bevy of accessories for the Predator 8, including a stylus if you feel like being productive on the touchscreen, which the company claims has a higher density of touch sensors built into it than other displays.

The $299.99 question, however, is whether anyone actually wants a gaming tablet. Casual gamers don't require tactile feedback to play Candy Crush, and previous Android gaming portables from the likes of Archos and GameStop didn't exactly set the world on fire. Acer may be hoping to ride the tailcoats of efforts to create an Android gaming console market, built around Razer's Forge TV and Nvidia's Shield units, though Lollipop's new engine may not be the best for older games, according to ZDNet's own Jason Perlow.

We'll have to wait a couple of months to find out if the Predator 8 can bring a badly needed boost to a stagnant tablet market, or if it will be relegated to the dustbin like other gaming tablets. In the U.S., it will be available exclusively at Newegg from November 7 for two weeks before going on sale at other retailers. Do you think it will be a success? Let us know in the discussion section below.