The Acer Iconia Tab A500 tablet can now be preordered at BestBuy.com. An exclusive offering of the big-box retailer, customers will be able to place orders in the store beginning April 14, and the tablet will finally begin selling Easter morning, April 24.
The Iconia Tab features a 10.1-inch multitouch screen, a Nvidia Tegra 250 1GHz dual-core processor with an integrated GeForce GPU, 16GB of flash storage, a microSD card slot for 32GB of additional storage support and Google's tablet-geared Android 3.0 operating system, nicknamed "Honeycomb." There's a 5-megapixel camera on the back, and a 2-megapixel camera with HD video-recording capabilities on the front, plus a promised 10 hours of Internet surfing.
Housed in aluminum, Acer's answer to the Apple iPad (more than the iPad 2, really) includes WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity, foregoing 3G access and the need for a wireless carrier contract-for now. It measures 10.24 by 6.97 by 0.52 inches and weighs 1.69 pounds, making it heftier than the iPad 2's 1.33 pounds and 9.5-by-7.31-by-0.34-inch frame. Its price tag, however, is lighter, at $450. The 16GB WiFi-only iPad 2, Apple's starting model, is priced at $499. (Hop up to 64GB and add 3G support from AT&T or Verizon, and Apple's pricing rises to $829.)
Comparisons to the iPad are natural, as the Apple tablet commands 90-plus percent of the tablet market. But Apple also belongs in any conversation about Acer's entr??Â«e into the tablet market, as the company is counting on tablets to revive earnings that were slashed by the iPad and the market it created. Acer rode high on the netbook craze of the last few years, overtaking Dell in 2010 for the No. 2 position among global PC manufacturers. However, Acer's PC business has slowed, as consumers and enterprise users have turned their attention from the thin-and-light, travel-ideal netbooks to the even thinner and lighter tablets.
With sales continuing to fall, Acer on March 25 lowered its guidance for the first quarter of 2011. Originally expecting positive growth of 3 percent, it instead has warned of a negative annual growth rate of 10 percent, according to CENS.com, a Taiwan economic news source.