Acer challenges the iPad Mini with the 7.9-inch, quad-core Iconia A1 tablet

Acer Iconia A1

Acer wasn’t content to only launch its crazy Aspire R7 laptop/tablet/weirdness at its New York press event, as it also debuted a new Android tablet, the Iconia A1. While the Iconia B1 is a low-end slate designed to pull business away from the basic Amazon Kindle Fire, the Iconia A1 is going for a chunk of the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini’s market.

It’s equipped with a 7.9-inch IPS touchscreen, which has a 1024 x 768 pixel resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio. Inside is a MediaTek quad-core, 1.2GHz processor, and there’s a choice of either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage memory. Like the Iconia B1, Acer has fitted a microSD card slot, ready to bump this up by another 32GB. The amount of RAM isn’t currently known, but given the B1 has 512MB with a dual-core processor, we’re hoping the A1 will have 1GB.

A 5-megapixel camera is fitted to the rear of the tablet, and can shoot 1080p video at 30fps, plus there is a front-mounted video call camera. The chassis is fairly heavy for a small tablet, at 408 grams, while it’s quite thin at 11mm. Other features include the obligatory Wi-Fi connection, plus Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and a microHDMI-out port. According to Acer’s press release, the Iconia A1’s battery is good for seven hours of use.

Acer has added two cool gesture controls to the A1. The first is a five-finger wake-up, which isn’t as rude as it sounds, and automatically brings the tablet to life when you tap five fingertips against the screen. This can be linked with specific apps too, so one can be configured to open at the same time. Alternatively, if you tap the screen with both thumbs, it not only opens that app, but lets you launch another at the same time. While we know the Iconia A1 uses Android, it’s not clear which version yet, although we expect it’s 4.1 Jelly Bean. The tablet is set to go on sale in June, when the 16GB version will cost $200, and the 8GB around $170 – both very reasonable.

Acer Iconia A1