From netbooks to tablet PCs, Acer targets gadget-savvy Filipino consumers

By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA – Acer is hoping to duplicate its moderate success in the netbook segment this time looking to cash in on a potentially lucrative market for tablet PCs with its Iconia series of portable computing devices.

This line includes the laptop-type Iconia-484G64ns and the tablet PC-type Iconia Tab-W501, both of which feature multi-touch screen monitors.

The Iconia series  is the Taiwanese PC manufacturer's first foray into the tablet PC market, preceding several models from its previous Aspire series that also feature multi-touch screen capabilities.

The Iconia-484G64ns laptop features two 14-inch touch screens on the top and bottom panel. The traditional QWERTY keyboard has been replaced by a full-sized capacitive touch screen, though a virtual keyboard could be put on-screen to emulate actual typing.

The screen on the top half of the Iconia-484G64ns is also touch-capable and can work in tandem with the screen on the lower half.

The Iconia-484G64ns is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor running at 2.55 gigahertz. It has 4 gigabytes of memory, and an integrated 128 megabyte high definition video graphics unit. Other features include Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-FI b/g/n, a webcam, three USB ports, and an HDMI port.

It also runs Windows 7 Home Premium edition and priced at P70,900.

Meanwhile, the Iconia Tab-W501 is the first of Acer’s tablet PC under the Iconia series. It features a removable full-sized QWERTY keyboard; all internal components are within the top half with the 10.1-inch multi-touch screen.

The Iconia Tab-W501 is powered by an AMD C-series “Fusion” processor, which runs at around 1.6 Ghz. Despite the low processing power, the Iconia Tab-W501 has a 256 Mb AMD Radeon HD 6250 graphics processor allowing it to run HD videos.

Other features include 2 Gb memory, WiFi, dual cameras (one at the front and another at the back) three USB ports on the top half and another two on the removable keyboard, and an HDMI port. Like the Iconia 484G64ns, it is also pre-installed with Windows 7 Home Premium operating system.

The Iconia Tab-W501 is not yet available in the Philippines but Acer executives said it would be priced below P30,000.

In an interview, Acer Philippines General Manager Manuel Wong said ithe tablet PC industry in the Philippines is still small but is expected to grow as  users find new ways to use these devices.

He said most Filipinos still prefer traditional notebook form factors though there is already a small but significant community of tablet PC users.

“Just as what the netbook did when it was first introduced, the tablet PC will also have some significant effects on the Filipino user. There will be new ways of using tablet PCs and we’re up for that challenge,” Wong said.

He stressed that the company would eventually be introducing other models catering to different segments.

Tablet PCs or devices with multi-touch screen capabilities are expected to grow in the Philippines, according to reports from such groups as the International Data Corporation (IDC) and Gartner.

This growth is due to demand for multimedia-rich content as well as use of social networks.

***

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