Acer is readying the release of a $99 Iconia tablet for early 2013 as it attempts to compete with Google, Amazon and, to a lesser extent Apple, in the cutthroat tablet market.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Acer has already submitted the 1.2Ghz dual-core tablet for approval with the FCC, America’s telecom regulator, but may not actually release the low-cost device in North America. As margins grow thinner, companies have been forced to bring down the costs of devices to loss-leader levels. Acer, with its Iconia series, has always undercut competitors like Asus, Sony, Samsung and others in the Android space, but with the Asus-built Nexus 7 in mid-2012 the company found itself with no real force in the market. Its only choice, it seems, was to build an even cheaper alternative to the already-cheap Android-based choices like the Kindle Fire.
Renders of the tablet were leaked to a Serbian blog last week, confirming that the device will look very similar to its A110 cousin. Other specs include 512MB RAM, 8GB internal storage plus a microSD card slot, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and a 1024×600 pixel screen. The device is expected to launch with stock Android 4.1.2.
Whether this can improve Acer’s chances of success in the Android tablet market is not clear — the competition is creating better, faster, cheaper tablets, and with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire dominating the charts, it may not be worth it for users to undermine their experience with a sub-$100 slate.