Ever since the Amazon Kindle Fire launched last year for $199, that figure has been viewed as the sweet spot for Android tablets. Rightly so too, as Amazon was estimated to have shipped six million Fire’s over that first holiday period, seeing it become the most used Android tablet in the US by the end of February 2012.
Google certainly took notice, and rumors of plans for them to release a $200 Nexus tablet running the next version of Android have continued to spread since. Last month, Nvidia talked about its Kai platform, which would bring quad-core power to tablets costing $199, and said that manufacturers were already hard at work incorporating Kai into tablets.
The prospect of a competitively priced, powerful Android tablet is exciting, but it remains speculative as none have been announced. However, hidden away on Acer’s stand at the Computex trade show this week, is a tablet that could be the shape of things to come.
Named the Acer Iconia Tab A110, it’s a 7-inch tablet with a screen resolution of 1024 x 600, and it’s powered by a Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core processor. With no official announcement made — Acer preferred to concentrate on its Windows 8 efforts — it can’t be confirmed whether this is a Kai tablet or not, but according to an Acer representative talking to theverge.com, it’s going to cost less than $200 when it goes on sale before the end of September.
Iconia Tab A110 vs. Nexus Tablet
Exactly what would be missing from a $200 tablet has always been a mystery, after all, one can’t expect it to have the same feature list as a tablet costing two or three times that figure.
This is what makes the Iconia Tab A110 an interesting find. The low resolution isn’t going to trouble the new iPad, and in fact can’t even match that of many modern smartphones, and it doesn’t have a rear-mounted camera. The rear cover is made of hard, textured plastic, and the device is 11.4mm thick.
But it does have a Tegra 3 processor and 1GB of RAM, seeing it return a similar Quadrant benchmark result as the Asus Transformer Prime, Additionally, there is a forward-facing video call lens, 8GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot, plus an almost standard version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Will you be prepared to sacrifice a high resolution screen and the option to take pictures, in return for a $200 quad-core tablet from a name manufacturer? Judging by the popularity of the Kindle Fire, for many people the answer is likely to be a resounding yes.
Given the Acer Iconia Tab A110’s spec is similar to the rumors surrounding the Google Nexus tablet, anyone waiting for Google I/O to see if such a device is revealed should be asking themselves the very same question, just in case.