Acer to unveil more affordable tablets by Q3

Taiwanese computer vendor Acer Inc. is planning to launch more affordable tablet computers later this year, thanks to "robust demand" for its first such model, a senior company executive said Monday.

The Iconia B1 only launched on January 18, but managed to sell an impressive 7,000 units in Taiwan in just the first 10 days. The company expects monthly sales there to soon surpass the 10,000 mark. Acer's Iconia B is also expected to reach monthly global shipments of around 400,000 units, which indicates that there's clearly consumer demand for moderately-priced tablets. Following this strong demand, Acer will launch similar tablets in sizes of 8 and 10 inches this year, said Scott Lin, Acer's senior vice president and president of its Greater China operations.

The two new devices are likely to start from about $200 and $250, respectively, when they are scheduled to hit the market by the third quarter of 2013, Lin told a media briefing in Taipei.

Acer's first affordable tablet has proven a success, according to Lin.

"The 7-inch tablet may not be eye-catching, but they could help Acer go from zero to hero," he said.

So what will these new tablets look like? Well details are scarce at this moment. All we know for now is that they'll be shipping out 8- and 10-inch variants of the Incona B1 tablet sometime this year.

If you want a little speculation on the specifications, we might see a quad-core in the largest tablet, rather than the 1.2GHz Mediatek dual-core processor currently in the 7-inch model. We could also see the RAM memory pushed up to a 1GB in the larger tablets, but other than that things are likely to stay pretty much the same to keep the prices reasonable.

Meanwhile, worldwide tablet shipments in 2013 are estimated to reach 240 million units, compared to 207 million notebooks, market research and consulting firm NPD DisplaySearch said in a recent report.

Noting that increasing global demand for tablets has opened up the market for a range of players, both large and small, the report forecast that tablets with 7- to 8-inch screens will replace Apple Inc.'s 9.7-inch iPad as the dominant models.

The combined market share of tablets with 7-inch through 7.9-inch screens will reach 45 percent, while 9.7-inch tablets like the traditional iPad will account for a share of about 17 percent, the report forecast.

The remaining 38 percent of the market will be shared by a wide variety of sizes of tablets, ranging from 5.6 to 13.3 inches.

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