Admitting iPad Is Perfectly Sized, Acer Slams Brakes on 7-Inch Tablet

Admitting iPad Is Perfectly Sized, Acer Slams Brakes on 7-Inch Tablet

Acer's 7-inch Iconia Tablet Now Delayed

First, Apple takes Acer to the woodshed over netbooks, now the PC maker takes a bruising for demanding a lady-sized 7-inch tablet. They’ve just figured out what Apple has known all along: the iPad’s the perfect size for a tablet.

The 7-inch Iconia Tab A100 won’t appear until August or September, insider reports suggest Wednesday.

The problem, according to industry publication DigiTimes, is Android 3.0 doesn’t work with seven-inch tablets. An update to the Google mobile software — with the comical “Ice Cream Sandwhich” codename — likely won’t appear until later this year. Acer plans to target its 7-inch tablet to women and won’t use the currently-available phone version of Android. Other Android tablets, such as HTC’s Flyer, do use the phone operating system.

PC tablet makers see the 7-inch niche as a way to survive a market dominated by Apple’s 10-inch iPad. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has dismissed the smaller screens, suggesting they are impractical and would require such a crowded interface that users would have to “sand down their fingers” to work a 7-inch tablet display.

News that Acer may delay its tablet comes shortly after a former CEO said the PC maker was caught flat-footed by the iPad. Gianfranco Lanci was quoted earlier this month that despite warnings, the company refused to invest in tablets. Acer feared “de-Taiwanization” if engineers were hired to work on tablet and touch screen technology, he said.

It appears Acer may be late to another party – those learning a tablet interface cannot be tacked onto an e-reader like display. Already, players like Samsung realize the problem with the smaller displays, offering their tablet in 10-inch, as well as 7-inch versions. Judging by Jobs’ previous negative comments about the smaller screens, we are not likely to see Apple introduce a smaller tablet. This leaves PC makers to be the Guinea pig and recalls the flame-out the tech industry witnessed with netbooks.

What do you think? Will Apple introduce a 7-inch tablet? Perhaps more importantly, should the Cupertino, Calif. company stray from its 10-inch roots?

  • swengoodwood

    19″ to 21″ would be perfect for around the house. I would like to read magazines that are roughly the same size as an actual magazine. Would be a nice size for a DJ program for spinning tunes and great as a family photo album too. 

  • mfd141

    I prefer two sizes… 4 -5 inch screen so I can put it in my pocket like the iPod Touch and Samsung Galaxy S WiFi. And a 10 inch screen for meetings (taking notes) or watching movies… I have no interest in anything in between. What I would love is the ability to dock my pocket sized device into a 10 inch tablet… sorta like the Always Innovating SmartBook. Now that would be very cool!

  • Dan1400

    It wouldn’t be hard for these companies to compete with apple if they lowered the price of their offerings.  The Xoom, playbook, galaxy tab all should be priced at least 100USD lower than the ipad.

    Only a crazy person would spend 500USD on anything but an ipad.

  • YodaMac

    For Jobs to make such a comment about 7″ usability (or lack thereof) you know that Apple totally has 7″ prototypes being tested by R&D.  And they will only ever release it if they come up with some new and “magical” way to make it user-friendly.  Which they can then taunt their competition about “not getting it”.   :)

    It’s fun watching all the others flounder.

  • gareth edwards

    God, it just gets worse reading about Apple’s competitors mishaps.  I truly understand and accept that the Android way of doing things is attractive to a lot of people (both Devs and consumers) but when you see stuff like this it just beggars belief.

    How many of these google partners are literally just pissing cash down the drain at the mo?

    Companies desperately trying to differentiate hardware by making things a different size just to be different.  Banging stuff out the door half baked, badly developed, poorly researched. All of them just screaming to be heard over the din of their competitors all around and at the same time telling you their kit is better than Apple stuff.  I would hate to be any of these guys. 

    Seriously, when Amazon launches their tablet offering I truly believe that some of these smaller companies will suddenly get the fright of their lives. The netbook market is gone in all real terms, the tablet market is Apple’s at the moment and what’s left is just carnage, companies dripping in the blood of battle, tiring themselves out fighting for every inch.  Amazon is gonna walk in and kill them.  As a consumer if I had to choose Apple, Amazon or Android for a tablet there’s only 2 I’d be happy to put my money into.

  • Alex Hebden

    I agree, I can’t wait to see larger and less portable tablets for around the house and integrated into our everyday lives (like a coffee table that is a tablet pc)

  • OEB

    Historically Steve Likes to deceive, misdirect, or downright lie about what Apple ‘wont’ be doing. This is not a character attribute but a business strategy.  He said they would never make a PDA.  He said they would never make a netbook.  He said they would never make an ebook.  He said countless other things like these…  and sure they all have a ring of truth but they all were all designed to mislead.  Apple likes to keep its secrets secret and Steve makes sure of that.

    http://technologizer.com/2011/

  • OEB

    I totally agree.  It is not there isn’t any demand for other tablets, its just at the current price range the ipad has the best value (whether you may think its perceived value or not) for the majority of customers.  Drop the price to $399 on the xoom or the galaxy or playbook and then we will see some play in the market.  Drop it lower and you will see an explosion.  Hell, its already being done with the (lower end tablet market) nook and the kindle.  You do’t see them advertising their success for a reason.  A good reason.  They don’t want xooms at $200.  Economics 101: When price goes down, ‘quantity demanded’ goes up.  

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    Everyone knows that the iHater companies just want to prove Steve Jobs wrong for general principle.  They believe he is arrogant and doesn’t have a clue about what he’s talking about.  That’s what they were really pissed off about when Steve said that consumers prefer larger tablets.  Most of those companies didn’t even bother to do consumer research about the matter.  It’s better the iHaters make their own mistakes and find out for themselves what the majority of consumers want.  If they can prove Steve Jobs wrong even once or twice out of a hundred times that should make them all happy.  I think 7″ tablets certainly do have some place in the tablet market, but that’s just my thinking.  They’re lighter and more compact than a 10″ if that’s what a person is looking for.  I’d be happy carrying around a 6″ or 7″ iPod Touch at times.

  • CharliK

    Steve likes semantic games. It’s how he can lie but he didn’t lie. He said they wouldn’t make a PDA (as defined by what was out there at the time that he made the statement), they wouldn’t make a netbook (again as defined by the status quo at the time he spoke) etc. 
    And they didn’t. They made something all together different that could serve those functions if the user choose. Along with many more. 

    Semantics

  • CharliK

    More like HAD. They likely tested a number of sizes and shapes before they went with the final one. We’ll probably even get some rumors about Jobs recanting his statements and Apple is going to release a 5 or 7 inch or even both and get photos and it will turn out that they are of units from the reject pile 

  • CharliK

    That was Apple’s logic as well and thus what they went with. 

    Some folks might feel different and just want one unit so a 7 inch is perfect for them. 

    However, Acer is risking a PR nightmare by pushing this line that they are creating a ‘dainty’ 7 inch for women and a ‘macho’ 10 inch for men. Sexist much. And likely to backfire as women either tell them to piss off completely and go for another company or at the least ignore that ‘dainty’ version and get the big one that is more in line with what they need

  • mogando

    your stupid link was filled with predictions by OTHER people, not quotes of Apple or Jobs. 

    Apple never made a PDA – the Newton was way more powerful than a PalmPilot of the 90s. 

    Apple never made a netbook – Macbook Air uses a full Core2Duo chip (and soon to be Core i5), not some dumb down Atom CPU that can’t even do System Idle correctly.

    Apple never made an eBook reader – the iPad doesn’t use eInk, and does way more than a Kindle. iBook is just an app within iPad instead of the whole tablet.

  • Burning Zeppelin

    Is it really possible? Then why the hell they didn’t do that? I guess it’s just impossible to drop the price.

  • Roby

    The 10″ is awkward to schlep… rather have a MacBook Air.

    Like the 10″ for the home.  Issue with the 7″ is where it goes for carrying.  The iPhone or IPT can slide into a person’s pocket.  No doubt Acer is thinking women’s pocketbooks for the 7″, but even that would be too large, no?

    And agree with other poster… if they really advertise this and think of it as a “woman’s device”, they’re going to be in deep market trouble.

    As to Jobs, agree 100% with those who say his 7″ comment could be just as likely misdirection as blunt dismissal.

  • bmovie

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • bmovie

    Can’t wait until propeller heads brag about how they modified their “Ice Cream Sandwich”!

  • bmovie

    Can’t wait for larger iPads to do Photoshop and Illustrator, but Apple’s got to create a new name for it. Don’t want to say I go to work everyday with my Maxi-Pad! Apple has to work with Wacom and get a digitizing pen to work with it. Vectors are hard to manipulate with your finger. With a pen, maybe a 7″ iPad would be viable, but you might as well make an oversized iPhone. Maybe the new curved glass iPhone is curved to fit the contours of one’s rump—that would certainly relieve us of the mobile phone dimple we’re all developing now!

  • Sean Liu

    4 inches is good size. the iPod Touch and the iPhone could be improved with a bigger screen.

  • James Katt

    I asked Steve Jobs to come out with a 15-inch iPad.  That would be great.  And a 17-inch iPad would be even better.

  • OEB

    We all know that Apple did not make ‘those’ things, I did not realize I need to state the obvious.  My point was addressing what the article asked of us.

    “What do you think? Will Apple introduce a 7-inch tablet? Perhaps more importantly, should the Cupertino, Calif. company stray from its 10-inch roots?”

    I was answering the question of ‘what do you think?’.  I am not here to google you Steve Job quotes.

  • OEB

    They are.  Its just that only Amazon and Barnes&Noble have caught on.  Here is an article from cult of mac regarding Amazon’s pricing strategy: http://www.cultofmac.com/amazo

  • CharliK

    Code name: Sprinkles.

  • Hampus

    Took them long enough, wonder if the got the whole picture though, yea, the iPad is perfectly sized, but it isn’t just about the inches, they got the aspect ration right too, 4:3 just works better for a tablet than a widescreen…

    As for Apple doing a 7 inch, it’s possible, but I think it’s far more likely we’ll see a iPhone with a larger screen. The 7 inch size is kinda to small for a tablet interface but it’s so much larger than a phone that it becomes harder to take with you, it won’t just fit in your pocket, it makes more sense to go either way, larger and get a tablet or smaller and get a smartphone.

  • 4D

    There’s a good stretch for a story, Ed.  Perfect food to feed the cult.  As for Stevie being right about 7″ tablets, time will tell. It hasn’t kept anyone from making them. My Archos 70 with a 250gb hard drive runs fine with android 2.2, and does far more than my ipad2 can, for far less.

    For your next article you can say that the 10.1″ android 3.0~3.1 tablets will never make it since they are 16:10 ratio screens and not the perfect 4:3 screen of the iPad. Don’t mention the 3:2 ratio of the Touch and iPhone or that may confuse the cult.

    4D   

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , , , |