Acer may have taken a cue from Intel in terms of learning how to play hardball. We're not sure what exactly the OEM said to Compal Electronics, but whatever it was, it worked. Citing anonymous sources in the notebook industry, news and rumor site DigiTimes reports that Compal has suddenly turned orders from Asus to produce volume notebooks.
Asus had originally wanted to keep 70 percent of its notebook production with Pegatron Technology and outsource the remaining 30 percent to Foxconn. But in order to save costs, Asus decided to cut back orders with Pegatron to 50 percent and outsource the other 20 percent to a third player.
That's where Compal comes in. Asus had interest in letting Compal produce anywhere from 10-20 percent of those remaining orders in the second half of 2010, but Acer, speaking in private, managed to convince Compal to turn the orders down.
What's interesting is that Acer's market muscle might extend beyond Compal. Quanta Computer, Wistron, and Inventec are also weary about working with Asus, the sources added.
Gateway computer introduced some new models into three of its desktop computer lines. The upgraded machines feature more power, capacity, and performance while maintaining Gateway’s trademark low price tag.
In the FX line, revamped machines sport Intel Core i7 processors, Radeon HD5850, at least 8GB of DDR3 memory and Blu-ray/DVD or DVD-RW drive and numerous improvements to its chassis design. The highest priced FX unit runs at $1699.99. The DX line runs Intel Core i5 processors and various nVidia graphics and Blu-ray options depending on your configuration maintaining a midline pricing of about $849.99 (Nvidia GT220, 4x Blu-Ray). Lastly, the SX series of small-form-factor desktops gets Core i3 processors, GMA X4500HD graphics, 6GB DDR3 memory retailing at $599.99 and handles HDMI out of the box for HTPC builders.
You can check out Gateway’s latest improvements at the Gateway store.
Acer's never been shy about its plans to become the world's largest PC maker, but as it turns out, gunning for that No. 1 spot, at least in terms of notebook shipments, might be harder than the OEM thought.
In the last quarter of 2009, Acer shipped about 9.5 million notebooks, an impressive number, but not as impressive as the 11.38 million units HP managed to ship out. That gives HP a bit of breathing room after Acer previously closed the gap to 1.05 million units (the narrowest it's ever been) when it shipped 9.91 million units in the third quarter, compared to Acer's 8.86 million.
HP has the North American market to thank for increasing its lead, due mostly to a series of sales promotions during the holiday shopping season, including a sub-$300 mainstream notebook.
Looking ahead, HP expects to ship 44 million notebooks in 2010, while Acer will push its ultra-thin line in an attempt to move beyond its original goal of 40 million units.
Lame name aside, Acer's first foray into 3D-capable monitors serves up 1,920x1,080 pixels along with a 120Hz refresh rate. But it's the 3D that's of most interest, and to help give images an extra dimension, you'll need to don a pair of Nvidia's 3D Vision active-shutter glasses.
"As 3D content becomes more widely available in popular games and videos, users desire computing products that can take advantage of these new capabilities," said Acer America's senior product marketing manager Irene Chan. "We are excited to offer Acer's first monitor to support 3D technology."
Other specs include an 80,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio; 300cd/m2 of brightness; a 2ms response time; over 72 percent of the NTSC color gamut; and HDMI, DVI, and VGA inputs.
Acer plans to start shipping the GD235HZ this month for $400. Tack on another $200 for Nvidia's 3D Vision Kit.
It may have taken a long while for Apple to finally introduce the iPad, but now that it has, expect every other tech company to try and cash in on the tablet mania. Everyone except Acer, that is.
According to Acer Taiwan president Scott Lin, the always confident and frequently outspoken OEM isn't planning on tossing its hat into the tablet ring and going toe-to-toe with the iPad. Instead, Acer is content to focus on ultra-thin notebooks in 2010.
It's not that Acer couldn't build a tablet, says Lin, The issue, he says, is that such a product doesn't have a place in Acer's business model. Not only that, but Acer appears to have little interest in designing an online store similar to Apple's iTunes ecosystem to support a tablet device.
The big question then becomes, 'What kind of impact will the iPad and similar devices have on the ultra-thin notebook and netbook markets?' And the answer, according to Lin, is not very much, since they each target different consumer groups. Whether or not that's really the case, we'll find out as 2010 marches on.
Sometimes it can be difficult sifting through the speculation and figuring out what's real and what's not, so we're always pleased as punch when a company bigwig spills the beans on an upcoming project. During a recent interview with Bloomberg, Jim Wong, senior corporate vice president and president of IT product business group at Acer, did just that by confirming earlier reports of an impending Chrome OS netbook.
And not just one notebook, but one million of the them. That's how many Chrome-based laptops Acer will try to ship in 2010, which would account for about 7-8 percent of all notebooks the company plans to ship, Wong said.
According to Wong, Acer will begin shipping Chrome-based notebooks in the third quarter, but he stopped short of offering up any other details, such as what kind of CPU will be used.
The third quarter's shaping up to be a big one for Acer. In addition to the upcoming Chrome laptops, Wong said the company will also release its e-book reader in Asia and Europe, coinciding with the launch of Acer's upcoming app store.
According to a Bloomberg report, Acer will try to boost its profitability to the highest it's been since 2004 by tossing its hat into the online app store biz, which will coincide with the launch of its first e-book reader later this year.
Acer's Jim Wong, president of IT Products division, said the app store will contain hundreds of downloads, "otherwise you can't call it an app store." In other words, the company doesn't plan to go at it half-cocked, and is instead serious about trying to (eventually) take on the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Google.
"If they can find a way to sell applications, then the margins can be very lucrative," said Vincent Chen, an analyst with Yuanta Financial Holding Co. in Taipei.
Acer's app store is expected to go live by the middle of the year and include software to support Google's Android platform, which the company currently installs on some of its netbooks and smartphones. It will also offer up support for Windows and Windows Mobile systems, with Chrome OS software to be added sometime down the line, Wong said.
Acer certainly talks the talk, and the problem for its competitors is that, for the most part, the company also walks the walk. Take note HP, because Acer's gunning for your top spot in the global PC market, a place the company thinks it will reach by 2012.
Or so says Acer's outspoken Chairman Wang Jeng-tang and President Gianfranco Lanci. In fact, it seems like everyone over at Acer likes to beat their chest, as evidenced by the company's founder earlier this week saying that US-brand PCs will be extinct in 20 years, "just like what happened to US television brands."
HP is one of those US brands, and also happens to be the largest maker of PCs on the planet with a 19.3 percent share. Acer, who jumped ahead of Dell not that long ago for the No. 2 spot, holds 13 percent of the global PC market, and it's not unrealistic that Acer would become the top dog in two years.
This will especially be true if the notebook market continues to grow, which is a sector where Acer thrives. The company said it shipped about 33-34 million notebooks last year, and thinks it it will ship 40 million in 2010.
Those of you sporting a PC made in the the good ol' U.S. of A. may want to take note - two decades from now, you'll have no choice but to buy a foreign-made computer. Why? Because according to Acer founder Stan Shih, U.S. computer brands are on their way out.
"The trend for low-priced computers will last for the coming years," said Shih. "But US computer makers just don't know how to put such products on the market... US computer brands may disappear over the next 20 years, just like what happened to US television brands."
Acer's been on a roll the past year, nudging ahead of US-based Dell in a photo-finish as the world's second-largest computer vendor, and should Acer continue to fly high, it could pass HP, another US computer maker, for the top spot by 2011.
Both Acer and Dell (under the Alienware brand) showed off new 23" 120Hz LCD panels that are compatible with Nvidia's 3D Vision. We got to try both of these monitors out at their respective meeting suites. Previously, the largest 3D Vision capable monitor you could buy was a 1680x1050 22" Samsung display, which forced you to choose between gaming in 3D and full HD. But both Acer and Dell's monitors run at 1080p, making paying a premium to adopt 3D Vision a bit easier to stomach.
But there's still one limiting factor neither of these makers have addressed with these monitors.