Says notebook manufacturers need to innovate

Tablets and ultrabooks are ‘fads’ says Acer boss

Acer found Stan Shih has described tablet PCs and Intel’s ultrabook concept as ‘fads’ and urged manufacturers to innovate beyond the current trends.

Taiwanese industry watcher DigiTimes quoted the Acer boss as saying that the industry needed to produce more ‘value-added’ products, but the report didn’t state when and where Shih made the comments.

Note: The DigiTime’s indented paragraphs are translations from Chinese analysts that have personal networks (known as guanxi) within the local manufacturing industry. Shih’s comments appear to be the result of such an off-the-record chat.

Shih reportedly pointed to Apple’s iPad as an example of "outside-the-box" thinking which the notebook manufacturing industry would do well to learn from. 

Few would disagree with that sentiment but it could be argued that Acer has been as guilty as any other manufacturer of shipping commodity standard PC hardware light on any ‘value add’ of their own.

Yet Shih affirmed that new products would need to go through the PC platform since the PC platform was the ‘base of the IT industry’ and that tablet PCs came out of the PC market.

The Acer boss said that consumers wanted low cost convenient devices and that those would be the key pressures that manufacturers will face.

The comments on tablets being a ‘fad’ could be seen as putting a brave face on Acer’s less than impressive performance in the segment. In March previous CEO Gianfranco Lanci quit the top job in a disagreement with the Acer board over importance of tablets in Acer’s product line up.

Intel will doubtless be less impressed with Shih’s disparaging comments on the firm’s ultrathin ultrabook concept. The company is currently engaged in drumming up support among the Far Eastern manufacturers for the chipmaker’s answer to the MacBook Air.

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