SCOOP: Acer reveals Android tablet

Acer will launch an Android-powered slate before the year is out with the 7 inch touchscreen tablet also sporting a QWERTY keypad and embedded 3G.

Unveilled at Acer’s Source Home global press conference in Beijing Acer CEO and president Gianfranco Lanci told APC the slate would arrive in Q4 “which probably means September or October” and like many other Android devices would have a customised user interface rather than Android’s plain vanilla UI.

Acer CEO and president Gianfranco Lanci taps away at his company’s new Android-powered tablet in ebook mode

Lanci admits the tablet is similar to an iPad “from a concept point of view it’s just a different size” – but Acer believes smaller is better.

“We are not convinced that 10 inches is the right size for this type of device. It becomes too close to a netbook in size and why should it not be a netbook with full PC capability?”

The as yet-unnamed tablet will also include 3G for wireless Internet access. “We see 3G as an important part of the device” affirmed Lanci. “We’re not looking just at Wi-Fi you need both Wi-Fi and 3G”.

Lanci says the 7 inch form factor is a better bet for tablets than the nearly 10 inch screen of the Apple iPad

Lanci told APC that the Android OS was chosen as the best fit for the device’s primary uses of “books music and videos browsing the Internet email and chatting.”

“Android is very good in terms of Internet browsing and connectivity. You can run it on an ARM processor at a certain speed and Android is light enough not to overload the CPU”.

The as-yet-unnamed Acer tablet is likely to include a customised UI sitting atop Android’s standard home screen

Lanci said that Acer was committed to open source operating systems for these kinds of device. But unlike HP’s recent acquisition of Palm’s WebOS for its forthcoming Slate “we are not thinking to do our own operating system. Our own user interface yes – and maybe our own middleware we are working on certain things – but not our own operating system.”

“HP decided to go with WebOS and buy Palm because they have the same consideration (as Acer). But in our opinion and from a user point of view open source is a better solution than a proprietary system. This is no longer a Wintel world.”

David Flynn is attending Acer’s Source Home conference in Beijing as a guest of Acer Computer Australia.