John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Acer CEO Plans to Make the iPad Look Like a Newton

Two years. Three at the most.

That’s how long Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci figures it will take his company to overwhelm the iPad and commandeer Apple’s early lead in the tablet PC market.

“While iPad has gained successful sales performance and good market response, Apple is centered around the US market with a significant leading status, but its competitive strength may not play out in emerging and other markets, this is the opportunity for Acer,” Lanci told Digitimes recently. “Sales of iPad pushed forward very fast initially, but have slowed down in the past few weeks. … We hope our tablet PCs can reach a global market share of 10 percent to 20 percent initially, and become the market leader in 2-3 years.”

That seems an optimistic forecast given the company’s late start in the market. By the time its first tablets ship in spring of 2011, the iPad will be a year old and Apple will likely be gearing up for the launch of its successor. And Acer, as of yet, is unproven in the mobile computing space.

But the tablet market is still wide-open and Acer’s approach to it seems a wise one, strategically. Rather than betting on a single form-factor and OS, the company has developed a trio of tablets in two sizes, running on two platforms. In February, Acer will ship a Windows-based device with a 10.1-inch-display. And in April, it will ship two Android-based tablets, one with a 7-inch display and another with a 10.1-inch display (native 1280×800 screen resolution), a dual-core 1GHz processor, a front-facing camera for video calling, a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, and HDMI output.

Between them, those three devices cater to a pretty wide range of enterprise and consumer tastes. Add to this some elegant design flourishes and Acer’s manufacturing heft and Lanci’s prediction doesn’t seem quite so outrageous. Remember, Acer was once viewed as an also-ran in the PC space. Today, it’s one of the top PC makers in the world. Which is not to say that it’s destined to become one of the top tablet makers in the world, just that it’s certainly a possibility. That said, the company has a long way to go before it overtakes Apple. The iPad and the iOS app ecosystem that Apple’s built around it have given Cupertino about 95.5 percent of the worldwide tablet market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. And it won’t surrender it easily.

Be sure to check out Ina Fried’s in-depth interview with Gianfranco Lanci at Mobilized later today.