With today's introduction of the Acer Iconia Tab A100, the 7-inch Honeycomb tablet era begins. Vivek and Jarred looked at the new entrant's big brother, the 10.1" A500, and were left . . . well, a little underwhelmed. Some of their complaints are endemic of everything Honeycomb, so far: occasionally sluggish performance, potentially awkward form factor, bugginess. Some of their complaints, though, were fixed on Acer’s 10.1” tablet itself: questionable build quality, uncompetitive pricing, less than stellar viewing angles. So what does Acer’s diminutive tablet offer up?

If you put the spec sheets for the A500 and the A100 next to each other, it might take you a few minutes to see the difference. In truth, the A100 shares the same SoC, memory, and connectivity with the larger tablet (Tegra 2, 1GB RAM, 802.11 b/g/n). The A100 will also launch with Android 3.2; the A500 recently received the 3.1 update, but 3.2 isn't here quite yet (though it's coming). Where the two models differ is in screen size, ports, and software. The 7” capacitive display is driven by a 1024x600 TFT LCD panel, not inspiring on paper, but if it’s related to the shipping panel in the A500 it can still impress with its visuals, even if the viewing angles aren’t spectacular. The full size USB port of the A500 is omitted, and the HDMI port takes on a mini configuration. By the pictures, the A100’s design looks similar to the A500, but with a decorative rear panel that will be available in multiple colors in the future.

Battery life is quoted at 4.5 hours of video playback, about half of what we saw in the A500, which isn’t surprising given it carries a half-sized battery. Pricing, which has gotten more and more competitive for the A500 is coming in a little higher than expected. Originally rumored to be the first sub-$300 Honeycomb tablet, the 8GB A100 will come in at $329, while a 16GB SKU will retail for $349. (Hooray for 8GB upgrades no longer costing an extra $50+, though!)

Like Samsung, Acer has prepared some tablet optimized software to extend Honeycomb's utility a little further. Social Jogger is their riff on a social media aggregator; it’s currently configured for Facebook and Twitter, hopefully with more services to be added soon. LumiRead is Acer’s e-reader software, complete with book store, and there's also Day Planner. Much of the PR for this device focuses on its utility for families and “modern moms,” in particular. Day Planner is a potentially valuable scheduling app that does more than display your calendar and agenda; it also integrates your e-mail, news, weather, contacts, note taking and, even, mapping services. The use case for this kind of software could be huge, and we will be interested in how good the software turns out.

We’ll update more when we have a sample in-house. Until then peep the gallery and judge the tweaked Iconia design for yourself.

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  • melgross - Friday, August 12, 2011 - link

    It's more than the fact that they didn't have those apps before, because now that they do, it's goi g to e difficult to convince business to buy something non iPad. Too many industries are beginning to standardize on the iPad, and it's cheap enough so that there would be no reason for them to go to something else.

    GE just came out with an application, and when asked, said that they had no plans to port it to anything else. We'll see that a lot.
    Reply
  • Pirks - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    Nobody "standardizes" on iPad 'cause only the Playbook got government grade FIPS security certification in the US and other countries. Stop pretending that a few koolaid drinkers are "the industry". A few idiots will adapt insecure iPad, sure, but most will go where the security is ==> Playbook. Reply
  • melgross - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    Forget that crap. Too many industries have already gone to the iPad. Even the FAA has tested the iPad, and approved it for cockpit use. Like it or not, this looks like the early days of the IBM PC. If other tablet manufacturers don't get their act together soon, it will be too late. Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    I'd suggest you forget those few lunatics from FAA, these mean nothing. If anything, your IBM PC reference means business, not consumer, since businesses adopted IBM PC which eventually almost killed consumer orIented Apple. Look for the history to repeat itself - watch business stronghold RIM pwning consumer Apple stuff yet again. I like your business and IBM PC reference actually, very appropriate given the current market situation. I'll enjoy watching Apple stuff kicked out of enterprise by the companies who specialize in enterprise computing, i.e. MS and RIM.

    The sad fate of (discontinued) Apple rack servers who nobody was buying is another proof that Apple has no place in big business and your references to a rare lunatic in FAA are easily overwhelmed by all these news about governments certifying Playbook for internal use, police cars being equipped by Playbooks in various countries, Russian government banning iPad because of security concerns and so on and so forth. Hate to burst your bubble but... all these facts speak for themselves.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Torch.
    Reply
  • JHBoricua - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    Cause your *yawn* was solid proof enough right? Keep playing with your paperweight, hoping it will catch up. To each its own. Reply
  • Pirks - Monday, August 15, 2011 - link

    Paperweight is actually your empty head, and my Playbook is my primary web surfing/emailing device when I'm on the run and Starbucks or some other free Wi-Fi is nearby. Way better than lame toy browser on iPad that you and your idiot buddies use 'cause they are too dumb to compare and pick the best tablet out there. Hoping iPad 3 will catch up but not hollding my breath.

    Posted from my BlackBerry Torch.
    Reply
  • Leonick - Saturday, August 13, 2011 - link

    Well if you'd use those eyeballs for ten seconds you'd see Acer doesn't have to worry about their tablets the slightest, neither does HTC.
    Samsungs newer Galaxy Tabs where kind of similar in design, these clearly have their own look.

    That doesn't really help this tablet when it has the price point it does and a battery weaker than that of the Galaxy S 2...
    Reply
  • seamonkey79 - Sunday, August 14, 2011 - link

    Apple can sue because it's still a rectangle with a screen and a button. Reply
  • Bownce - Friday, August 26, 2011 - link

    +1

    Glad I snagged one of the HP Touchpads.
    Reply
  • Black1969ta - Friday, August 12, 2011 - link

    Wonder when the tablets sporting the Tegra 3, Kal-El will be released. Nvidia first said Tablet could be out by August, but still not even rumored models sporting the SoC. Wonder if they will even come out by X-mas. Reply

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