Acer announced its new Iconia dual-screen laptop/tablet on Tuesday.
The device features two 14-inch touch displays and is powered by an Intel i5 processor. Both displays are multi-touch and use ultra-durable Gorilla glass. The displays are scratch and fingerprint resistant according to Acer. Acer will offer models with HDMI ports, 3G connectivity and Dolby speakers. Acer’s Iconia is similar to the original courier concept that leaked from Microsoft last year. The Courier project promised devices with dual-screens and touch + type functionality.
Microsoft’s Windows 7 Home Premium is installed on the Iconia and Acer has included its own unique software. Acer has provided several touch applications for browsing, photos, music and video. The virtual keyboard is launched by placing both palms on the bottom display. The keyboard also comes with a touch-pad and numeric keyboard. TechRadar got an exclusive hands on with the new device and posted some great pictures.
Acer’s device is the latest in a range of Windows 7 based tablet/slate devices that are hitting the shelves this holiday season. LG introduced its own Windows 7 Slate earlier this week. Dell also unveiled its Inspiron Duo last Thursday, a hybrid device that allows users to switch between netbook and tablet modes. The unique netbook has a spinning screen that allows it to be used as a tablet. LG’s new slate is significantly more dumb-ed down than Dell’s and Acer’s offerings due to the fact that it only runs Windows 7 Starter. Acer’s Iconia is very similar to Toshiba’s Libretto W105, unveiled earlier this year.
Microsoft has promised a “major revamp” of Windows for slate applications, that will come in the next version, Windows 8. Microsoft has been criticized for its slow response to Apple’s iPad device, introduced in April earlier this year. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, previously said Windows 7 based Slates would be available “as soon as they’re ready” when questioned earlier this year. The iPad sold three million units in its first 80 days of release and is currently selling approximately 4.5 million units per quarter, Bernstein Research estimates.
Microsoft Chairman, Bill Gates, said earlier this year that the company has a lot of different tablet projects it is pursuing. Microsoft canceled their internal Courier project shortly after the release of the iPad earlier this year. The project was an innovative new tablet concept that had promised to combine a dual screen book design with finger and stylus input. The leaked promotional materials demonstrated various concepts that would have brought an unparalleled productivity tool to the market. Most media outlets and analysts felt the move to cancel the device was a mistake.
Acer has not yet confirmed official pricing but expects to launch the Iconia in February 2011.