Dual-screen Iconia laptop also unveiled

Acer prepares tablet barrage

Taiwanese PC builder Acer has unveiled a range of Windows 7 and Android-powered tablets in 7 and 10-inch sizes to arrive in the first quarter of 2011.

Acer didn’t name the devices or provide pricing and hard release dates but at a press conference in New York the PC builder unveiled technical details and a rough release time frame.

First to arrive, a 10.1-inch Windows 7 tablet will appear in February and be powered by AMD’s next-generation of processor and will have forward and rear facing cameras. The Windows device will also come with a keyboard and dock to turn the tablet into a portable workstation.

Android powered devices will arrive in April, presumably waiting for the release of Google’s tablet-friendly Android 3.0 ‘Gingerbread’. A 10.1-inch Android tablet was tipped, powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chipset while a smaller 7-inch Android tablet will be powered by a Qualcomm chipset similar to smartphones.

The company also showed a dual 14-inch touch-screen laptop called the Iconia which will is being targetted for a December release. CNET obtained a hands on with the Iconia and concluded: "Acer has shown off some methods of using those displays in innovative ways, we’re just not sure that anyone will want to use a laptop like this instead of a more traditional keyboarded model."

Engadget obtained a hands on demo of the Android tablets at the press conference, noting that only the Tegra-powered 10.1-inch unit was operational and noted that "for the most part it was very sluggish and clearly acting like a pre-production unit."

Further photos are also available from Engadget.

The strategy of holding a press conference to introduce devices with no name, no pricing and few details is perhaps a surprising one. Furthermore the company also said it was supporting Google’s upcoming Chrome OS.

If there’s one thing that Acer did manage to successfully demonstrate it is that the company intends to back every horse in the race until a clear winner emerges.

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