updated 08:55 am EDT, Fri August 12, 2011
Acer Iconia Tab A100 confirmed for US at 330 price
Acer on Friday at last confirmed the launch of the Iconia Tab A100 in the US. The design is the first seven-inch tablet to ship with the Honeycomb interface and uses Android 3.2 to scale the tablet interface properly to the smaller screen. It fits the same dual-core Tegra 2 chip, five-megapixel rear camera, and two-megapixel front camera as its 10-inch A500 counterpart, just at a smaller 1024x600 resolution.
True to earlier claims, Acer is unusually focusing on women. It argues that the tablet is ideal for "mobile moms" who want something large enough to watch video but still want something usable one-handed, presumably while dealing with a child using the other. It's not clear why Acer chose to limit its marketing and imply that mothers would have trouble using larger tablets.
The smaller size does come with noticeable sacrifices. Acer only expects half the battery life of the A500 at just five hours of web browsing, 4.5 hours of 720p video, and a shorter-still four hours of web streamed video.
The slate is still equipped with the same software as the larger Iconia Tab, including NemoPlayer for streaming a personal media collection remotely, clear.fi for DLNA media sharing on the local network, and Aupeo for Internet radio. By shipping with Android 3.2, it comes out of the box with Google Videos for movie rentals, Google Music for cloud audio, and both Google Books and Acer's own LumiRead for text. Acer's customizations are mild and bring in its obligatory Social Jogger integration app as well as a Day Planner app.
To keep the price down, Acer is shipping the A100 with just 8GB of storage and is pricing it at $330 US or $350 Canadian. A 16GB version is available for $350 US or $400 Canadian.
The design is potentially the first real test for Google whether seven-inch tablets are viable. Although seven-inch tablets have been commonplace in the Android world, all of them until now have been Android 2-based tablets without real optimizations for the smaller size. Apple CEO Steve Jobs is well-known for having savaged seven-inch tablets as being too small to create a meaningful difference over a smartphone, and he may have been validated with low BlackBerry PlayBook sales.