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It’s “Bye bye netbook, hello Sandy Bridge tablet” for Acer

Claims made by higher authority in large corporations can make for interesting reading material, especially when their predictions about how the market will react to certain issues do not always go as planned. And Acer is no exception to the rule. Barely four months after its president claimed that netbooks can hold its own against slate and tablet PCs, the company has dramatically reversed its stands by declaring its intention to phase out netbooks with new tablet releases this year. Well, better late than never, right?

Read on to find out more.

Well, it seems like Acer has finally reversed its stand after all. After steadfastly claiming for almost four months that netbooks will still be here to stay despite growing competition from tablet and slate PCs, the company has admitted that the low-performance ultraportable notebooks will eventually have to make way for the next big thing in portable computing.

In an interview with IDG, Acer’s Taiwan sales manager Lu Bing-hsian confirmed that the company intends to place more focus on the rapidly growing tablet PC market, and that users can expect to see “two or three new tablet PCs in the first half of the year, including one with a seven-inch screen”. However, in typical Acer style, he also dropped a surprising revelation that the tablets are more than just new product launches for the company. Instead of positioning them as separate devices that can be used to complement the netbooks in its mobile lineup, Acer will market the tablets as direct replacement devices for netbooks as part of its strategy in satisfying customer demand.

“They (the new tablets) are aimed at phasing out netbooks,” he said. “That’s the direction of the market.”

Taking the Aspire One’s place will be the company’s new line of tablets which are powered by Intel’s Sandy Bridge platform and will sport “quad-core processors”. However, it will not be Windows 7 that gets pre-installed on the tablets, but Google’s very own Android OS. That should not be a problem though, as Android has already been known to play nice with Intel’s x86 architecture.

Lu’s mention of a quad-core processor is another thing though. While Intel has made huge improvements in attempting to keep the heat output of its processors as low as possible, it is unlikely that a quad-core processor would fit into the tight confines of a netbook without turning it into a heap of melted plastic. This has led us to think that Lu might be referring to dual-core processors with built-in support for HyperThreading, which grants the processor the theoretical performance of a quad-core processor.

That is not to say that the Aspire One line will be discontinued with immediate effect; Acer claims that its netbook production line will proceed as per usual, but at reduced output volumes and with lesser possible hardware configurations. Over time, the company expects to scale down its netbook production even more as tablets and slate PCs continue to grow in popularity.

Reference: Tom’s Hardware

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