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Acer Working on Windows RT Tablet for 2013 Release

By - Source: IDG News Service | B 12 comments

Acer has resumed development of an ARM-based Windows RT tablet.

Acer, the Taiwanese Microsoft partner that became extremely vocal about the branded Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets, is reportedly working on its own Windows RT tablet -- again. The news arrives after the company stated over the past year that it plans to take a wait-and-see approach to developing devices based on Windows RT.

Oliver Ahrens, Acer's president of Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, confirmed with the IDG News Service during Mobile World Congress 2013 that Windows RT will be part of the company's aggressive mobile lineup for this year. He didn't specify as to when a product will be launched, but did admit that Microsoft needs to put more work into making the Modern UI more appealing to consumers.

The news of a Windows RT tablet from Acer is surprising given that sales have been somewhat lackluster thus far – even Microsoft hasn't released actual sales numbers for Surface RT. During 2012 Acer sat back and watched its competitors rush Windows RT tablets to the market in order to make the Windows 8 launch date. Now two months into 2013, Acer is quite happy with its decision – it didn't want to sell just 20 units a day as seen with one unnamed competitor.

"It's not a rat race," he said. "We could have released it already."

During Computex 2012, Acer said it planned to release a Windows RT tablet. But the company put those plans on hold and focused instead on Windows 8-based laptops. Early reception for the new OS has reportedly been "cold" partially due to a heavy inventory of Windows 7 laptops which needed to clear out before Windows 8 sales could bloom.

That said, fears of a massively overhauled OS may have also caused a cold reception from consumers, fears that have somewhat subsided now that early adopters have figured out that Windows 8 is merely an updated Windows 7 with an optional tablet-focused overlay. A lack of touch-based hardware has also hindered Windows 8's overall acceptance, as screens are still rather expensive for OEMs who want to keep prices low for customers.

"Surely and steadily the appreciation is growing, but it's not a boom," Ahrens said. "The perceived value of Windows 8 has not really [reached] ... users as the way we'd like to see it with Microsoft products."

Like its competitors, Acer is trying to reposition itself as PC sales decline due to customers relying on tablets and smartphones as their main computing device. At one time Acer was the world's second-largest PC maker thanks to its success with netbooks. But tablets and smartphones seemingly eradicated that form factor, and now the company is trying to regroup in a netbook-free world.

In addition to resuming Windows RT tablet development, Acer plans to launch between four to six smartphones in 2013 alone, two of which are the Liquid E1 and Liquid Z2 which were revealed this week during Mobile World Congress 2013. The company is shooting to offer a standardized user experience while remaining competitive in price.

 

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  • 1 Hide
    vmem , February 28, 2013 12:32 AM
    Seriously Acer? give it a rest already. you made a few good points in your criticism of win8, especially of Metro/win8 RT. most of these points have been proven over the last couple of months and the market has moved on to be excited about win8 based mobile devices. what's the point of this now??? especially after other companies have already made RT devices
  • -2 Hide
    vmem , February 28, 2013 12:32 AM
    Seriously Acer? give it a rest already. you made a few good points in your criticism of win8, especially of Metro/win8 RT. most of these points have been proven over the last couple of months and the market has moved on to be excited about win8 based mobile devices. what's the point of this now??? especially after other companies have already made RT devices
  • 2 Hide
    ta152h , February 28, 2013 12:53 AM
    What's the point of Windows RT? Once AMD releases the Jaguar, and to a less extent Intel Bay Trail, who's going to want this incompatible version built on slower chips? Maybe a few people, but the scenarios are already limited, and it's going to get much worse when the Jaguar claws out its spot in the market.
  • -1 Hide
    nlcbryan , February 28, 2013 2:00 AM
    It seems nobody understand what's RT for..It's cheaper and is a mobile OS like the iOS. Battery life is longer as well. It can multitask like a normal computer, you can plug in a printer, you can plug in anything USB related, you can use office for some serious work, you can view flash websites on a normal IE10. you can plug in your 2TB ext hard disk and go in file explorer and click the movie you want to see....etc you want me to go on?

    I am using a surface RT and i can tell you i use it more than my laptop, which is now collecting dust. Flame me all you want but i love using it. It has been soo smooth since some updates.
  • 0 Hide
    vmem , February 28, 2013 2:12 AM
    First, apologies for the double post above, browser issues...

    nlcbryanIt seems nobody understand what's RT for...


    I do understand why microsoft made RT, and I commend them for finally taking steps to make a useful mobile solution. what I don't understand is the company Acer, who've repeatedly ripped on Windows RT and windows 8 in general (they've publically called RT confusing and rather uesless), is now making an RT tablet
  • 1 Hide
    gilezzz , February 28, 2013 3:44 AM
    I have a Lenovo Yoga 11 (RT) and I have never used a laptop so much. I can get up to 11-12 hours of battery life before recharging (and recharging is extremely quick, I haven't measaured but surely less than 2 hours). At home I don't even turn on my PC anymore. When I'm on a trip, I never have to worry about my batteries giving up. Sure, it is a bit frustrating when you want to use some legacy windows app and you can't. But it's 5% of the time. I wish I could have the same machine with full Win8, but I think the compromise is more than acceptable.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , February 28, 2013 4:29 AM
    [It seems nobody understand what's RT for..It's cheaper and is a mobile OS like the iOS. Battery life is longer as well. It can multitask like a normal computer, you can plug in a printer, you can plug in anything USB related, you can use office for some serious work, you can view flash websites on a normal IE10. you can plug in your 2TB ext hard disk and go in file explorer and click the movie you want to see....etc you want me to go on? ]

    The problem of a RT platform is that Windows 8 tablet based on Intel Atom platform already does everything RT can do, including long battery life and light weight. In fact, currently there are Atom based W8 tablet in the market which is lighter and has longer battery life than iPad2. Needless to say, it is also able to run all existing Windows applications. Pricewise, it is only like slightly more expensive than Surface RT+Touch cover, a $100 increase in price in many cases. An example is Acer W510. If Atom can already do this, think about what the next generation of low power CPU from Intel and AMD can do? In Windows world, ARM based SoC is redundant as soon as Intel and AMD can produce CPUs that can compete with it.

    RT platform would have made more sense if they are priced much lower. If Surface RT has been launched with the selling price of the rumored $200, the sales figure would have turned out very differently.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 28, 2013 8:44 AM
    I just don't understand Acer, if RT is selling badly then why release a product?
    ...
    Unless it is selling well but MS os nopt releasing the sales figures until 6 months and hit us with a big surprise
    ...
    If Acer has these figures but has a NDA it would obviously try to jump on the bandwagon and get it's own product out
    ...
    If so is this Acer eating crow?
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , February 28, 2013 10:20 AM
    Wake me up when they put a modified xp on a tablet... Clover trail CPU and a modified GUI
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 28, 2013 10:49 AM
    spentshellsWake me up when they put a modified xp on a tablet... Clover trail CPU and a modified GUI

    How about you you just install Window XP Tablet Edition on any modern Windows tablet? Wish granted, enjoy your 10 year old OS
  • 0 Hide
    ojas , February 28, 2013 10:51 AM
    Also in the news: Acer making Windows 8 laptop, due for release in 2013.
  • 0 Hide
    Non-Euclidean , February 28, 2013 12:21 PM
    Phenomenal! The confluence of the worst hardware manufacturer, the worst OS and the worst hardware platform should be a runaway success...