updated 10:55 pm EDT, Thu May 19, 2011
Acer Iconia Tab sales exceed demand
Part suppliers said late Thursday that Acer was seeing stronger than expected sales of the Iconia Tab line. It was "likely" to ship one million of the mostly Android-based tablets in the spring but could have moved more. Demand was hot enough that, according to Digitimes, Acer couldn't keep up from the April launch through May.
April alone saw 300,000 tablets ship, 70 percent of which were 10-inch tablets like the A500 or the Windows-running W500. The rest wasn't clearly defined but might have been the Iconia Smart phone and tablet hybrid. Acer had to push back its lone seven-inch tablet, the A100, for unknown reasons.
Insiders took sides with Acer's current management against its former CEO, Gianfranco Lanci. They believed that Acer was making quicker decisions and had stepped up Iconia Tab deliveries in a reaction that might not have been possible under the European director. Lanci has usually argued just the opposite and claimed management was too nationalist, refusing to hire non-Taiwanese engineers.
A million-large count would make the Iconia Tab A500 the most successful Android 3.0 tablet so far. Motorola only reported moving 250,000 Xooms in its first quarter and wouldn't match Acer if it kept up that rate through the spring. ASUS has been given compliments for the Eee Pad Transformer but is facing chronic supply shortages that would have it ship just a fraction of what it had planned.
The Iconia Tab has received lukewarm reviews but was one of the first Android 3.0 tablets to genuinely stay price competitive with the iPad 2 at $450 in the US. Combined with Acer's access to a large number of PC shops to get distribution, it may have been relatively successful. Apple may not feel threatened, since while it shipped 4.69 million iPads in the winter, supply chain rumors have had it shipping over 10 million iPads in spring.