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Sony and Acer arrive late in the Tablet market

Sony is finally ready with an Android tablet and Acer says it plans to accelerate the launch of its Iconia branded tablets following the departure of

By PETER WHITE

Published: 7 April, 2011

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Sony is finally ready with an Android tablet and Acer says it plans to accelerate the launch of its Iconia branded tablets following the departure of its CEO. The Sony product will be brought to market at an unspecified time this year, Perhaps it is right to be cautious because many companies launching Tablets are having their stock prices pummeled due to the fears that it is an overcrowded market, ready for instant rationalization.

Investor Blog Barron's said this week that the number of companies planning a tablet is "comical" and will lead to an "epic glut" later in the year. So far only a handful of Android tablets have actually hit the shelves, some are already rumored to be underperforming expectations, including the first major Honeycomb model, the Motorola Xoom.

Investment bank UBS has lowered its target price on Nvidia because of it, which has had its share price tied to those of the tablet sector, because of the design wins its flagship processor, Tegra 2 has in the market. The company enjoyed an impressive 71% rise in value between November and February, but has seen a fallback of over 16% in the past month.

Apparently undeterred, Sony CEO Howard Stringer has confirmed that the company will launch an Android tablet later this year, under its own brand rather than Sony Ericsson's. He told the Nikkei news agency that the product could make its US debut as early as this summer and will then be rolled out to international markets, running Honeycomb. He did not comment on the almost inevitable reports that the gadget would carry the PlayStation brand and be optimized for gaming content. Sony recently opened up PlayStation content to third party Android devices despite the launch of the Play handset by its handset joint venture with Ericsson.

Meanwhile, Acer made it clear that it wanted to accelerate its progress in tablets, when it announced the departure of its CEO last week, the prelude to a new strategy with a sharper focus on mobile and non-PC lines. Now the firm has brought forward the release date of its Iconia A100, a 7-inch Honeycomb tablet which is now available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk and should reach the US soon. It is taking the classic Acer approach in notebooks - undercutting the market on price to gain early share. The A100 is the lowest cost Wi-Fi slate yet seen from a major brand, at £300, though some of the design compromises betray how Acer arrived at the low price - the gadget has only 8Gbytes of storage and no 3G, plus the small screen. US pricing may well be even lower, at around $399.

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