We've been talking a lot about Acer lately, and that's because Acer has been doing a lot of talking of its own. The OEM's been pounding its chest like Kevin Garnett after an 'and-one' and talking smack to Dell, HP, and anyone else who stands in its way. And now the OEM is saying it's fully prepared to take on HP in a bit of a pricing war, which comes just a day after Acer said it feels confident it will ship 40 million notebooks in 2010.
According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, HP has already kicked off some pretty fierce price competition in a few designated markets, which includes sub-$300 models in the U.S. Acer's ever talkative chairman JT Wang said his company will not only follow suit, but plans to one-up HP by aggressively marketing its netbook and ultra-thin segments, both of which are areas HP is a little weaker in.
Beyond 2010, Wang said the global netbook market is on track to reach 350 million units, and we're a bit surprised Acer didn't say it plans to capture 349 million of them.
PC vender Acer is on quite the roll as of late. They’ve finally become number two in worldwide notebook sales, beating out Dell. Now they expect to be able to ship 40 million notebooks in 2010, and take the number one spot from market leader HP.
Earlier this year Acer was predicting only 33 to 37 million units shipped, but better than expected performance in the second half of the year caused them to raise expectations. One of Acer’s major problems is the ongoing shortage of hardware, including optical drives, LCD panels, hard drives, and graphics chips. Acer Chairman, JT Wang, indicated that even with possible shortages the company would likely reach its goal.
Acer has become a major player in the last few years. Their notebook shipments have more than doubled, mostly due to the success of netbooks marketed heavily to consumers. They plan to continue on this path into next year.
The mobile phone market boasts worldwide sales growth of 29 percent year-over-year to reach 180 million units. Smartphones are expected to account for 37 percent of global handset sales by 2012 with forecasted revenue of $191 million by 2012. So, what does that have to do with PC’s?
Analysts think that PC makers want a piece of that huge growth action. The growth percentages mentioned above are already far above that of worldwide PC sales numbers and outside of Apple, few PC makers have been able to cash in. Although, “PC vendors will find it difficult to simply use existing supply chains and channels to expand their presence in the smart phone market,” according to Roberta Cozza, principal analyst at Gartner.
Despite the difficulties, it is inevitable that more PC manufacturers will dip their toes into the success of mobile markets even though it is a very different ocean. Acer, Asus and Toshiba have all announced smartphone launches and this trend is expected to continue.
Acer president Scott Lin says his company has big plans for the tablet PC market, and today the company put on display its new Aspire 1420P tablet during a press event in China.
The sleek 11.6-inch tablet features a swiveling LED touchscreen with multitouch support, an Intel Celeron SU2300 processor (1.2GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 800MHz frontside bus), 2GB of DDR3 memory (expandable to 8GB), a 250GB hard drive, 802.11b/g/Draft-N, a multi-card reader, optional 3G support, and Windows 7.
According to the tablet's U.S. product page (yep, this one's headed for the States), the convertible display sports a built-in accelerometer that automatically rotates images so you can "use it as a photo frame, portable cinema, or the [as] the perfect presentation tool."
What the product page doesn't tell us is when the 1420P will be released and at what price
Surprise, surprise - Acer, the same company who not too long ago bemoaned Google's open-source Android platform as not being suitable to run netbooks, has gone ahead with just such a device anyway, even though most other vendors are content to wait for Pine Trail before releasing more netbook models.
Acer did, however, play it safe by pairing Android with Windows in a sort of dual-boot environment (Android has to be booted first and acts like a sort of instant-on SplashTop replacement), but that's more than the other top tier OEMs have done. According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, that's because other OEMs are taking a more conservative wait-and-see approach and will re-evaluate things once the final quarter of 2009 shakes out.
After seeing sequential growth to the of tune of 20 percent in the last two quarters, DigiTimes notes that netbook shipments from Taiwan notebook vendors is on target to backslide 8 percent in Q4. Part of the reason, analysts surmise, is waning demand as customers eagerly await the arrival of Windows 7, but vendors are also trying to keep inventory levels down on the verge of Intel's upcoming Pine Trail platform, due to arrive in early 2010.
It still remains to be seen how many OEMs will embrace Android on netbooks, whether as a standalone OS or in conjunction with Windows. So far, Acer's dual-booting Aspire One AOD250, which was only recently announced in the U.S., is the only one consumers have to choose from here in the States. Other markets will also see the AOD250, but not until after the launch of Windows 7, DigiTimes reports.
Acer has already been working with Far EasTone Telecommunications in Taiwan. Agreements have also been reached with Bouygues of France, Wind of Italy, and CSL of Hong Kong. Acer expects to begin working with North American telecoms in 2010. Could this mean that the Acer A1, with its Snapdragon CPU, will grace American shores in 2010? By then, it might be just another Android phone.
If it looks like a netbook and comes priced like a netbook, then surely it is a netbook, right? Not necessarily. Acer's new AS1410 may look the part of an underpowered PC, but on the inside, Acer's traded the low rent hardware found in just about every netbook for a slightly more powerful setup.
Instead of Intel's Atom platform, the 11.6-inch AS1410 comes built around a Celeron SU2300 processor (1.2GHz, 1MB L2 cache, 800MHz frontside bus). Not exactly a screamer, but a definite step up from the N270 and N280 chips that litter the netbook landscape.
It also comes with 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM, or twice as much as you'll find in a netbook. Other specs include a 160GB hard drive upgradeable to 250GB, Intel's GMA 4500MHD graphics, a multi-card reader, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI port, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
Acer says the AS1410 will be available in time for the holidays with prices starting at $400.
True to the company's prediction, Acer can finally chant, "We're number one!," so long as they're chanting it in Taiwan. That's because the PC maker's brand value has been appraised at $1.241 billion, the highest value of any Taiwan-based global brand in 2009, according to the government-sponsored Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
This is the first time Acer has ever taken the top spot, after coming in third in 2008 and 2007 with brand values of $1.265 billion and $1.069 billion, respectively.
Acer leapfrogged both Asus (formerly No. 2, now No. 3) and Trend Micro (formerly No. 1, now No. 2) to grab the top spot, but not by much. Trend Micro is close behind with a brand-value appraised at $1.235 billion, and $1.226 billion for Asus.
D-Link also had a good year, moving from the 13th spot up to No. 7 and now valued at $190 million.
The busy guys and gals over at Acer have put the final touches on the company's revamped AspireRevo R3510-U9012 "one-liter nettop." Kicking things up a notch over its predecessor, the refreshed PC now sports an Intel dual-core Atom 330 instead of a single core Atom 230.
It also comes built around Nvidia's Ion platform, 2GB of DDR2 memory, a 160GB hard drive, six USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, eSATA, WiFi, and Windows 7 Home Premium, fast becoming an obligatory OS in any new OEM setup. Not a bad spec sheet for a $330 nettop.
"The AspireRevo is a practical and highly adaptable nettop for the home -- powerful enough to take on games but so thin, it can be neatly hidden from view," said Susan Hu, Desktop Product Manager for Acer America. "It's also energy-efficient and quiet."
One of the coolest features of the AspireRevo is its ability to connect to the back of an LCD or TV panel with a VESA attachment. In essence, you could turn your swank LCD HDTV into a respectable all-in-one. And did we mention it's only $330?
Gartner, Inc’s gloomy forecast of a 5.6% decline in PC sales for the third quarter of 2009 didn’t quite pan out. Instead, Gartner is reporting a modest 0.5% increase, with 80.9 million units shipped worldwide. Sales were driven by the consumer market, with its insatiable demand for low-priced mobile PCs (i.e., netbooks).
Global leaders were Hewlett-Packard, with a 19.9% share, followed by Acer (15.4%) and Dell (12.8%). Dell was, however, tops in the U.S., with a 26.2% share of the market, followed closely by Hewlett-Packard with 25.7%. Acer finished out the top three with a 13.9% share.
Gartner predicts that the introduction of Windows 7 will have little impact on PC sales for the 4th quarter. According to Gartner’s Mikako Kitagawa: “Recent OS releases have not been a growth driver in the PC market.” But, Windows 7 could be a catalyst for an overdue hardware replacement cycle. Ms. Kitagawa expects some interest in hardware upgrades from consumers and business through the holiday season, and an impact in 2010 as the corporate market begins to react to the release of Windows 7.