Acer to Join Apple in Tablet Computer, E-Reader Market

By Jessica Davis

Acer (TPE:2353) plans to introduce an e-reader tablet computer and an online apps store by the middle of 2010, joining a field that grows more crowded every day. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is expected to introduce its long-rumored tablet computer this week.

Acer told Bloomberg of its plans during an interview last week. The company is also said to be planning to introduce a netbook in 2010.

"[The tablet and e-reader market] is an emerging market that has many similarities to the laptop market, and it will likely cannibalize that market somewhat," Enderle Group principal analyst Rob Enderle told Channel Insider.

"So, assuming these things take off, it would be wise for most PC vendors to be looking at it and most are," he said. "Acer is one of the most aggressive of the PC vendors, and it is clear they aren’t letting this one slide."

Acer could not immediately be reached for comment on whether the new devices will be available for sale through its reseller channel partners.

Acer had won much favor with reseller channel partners over the years as a channel-friendly PC maker. But the company’s moves into retail markets may have eroded some of that good will over the past few years. Still, Acer introduced a new program for partners last summer, designed to reward those who showed a commitment to Acer.

Also last summer Acer introduced a new nettop PC aimed at business users and sold through the company’s reseller channel. It priced at less than $400 and is equipped with an Intel Atom processor.

BusinessWeek noted that Acer was actually a pioneer in the tablet market, but was ahead of its time, finding that consumer appetites for the device were low when it was introduced in 2002.

This article was originally published on 2010-01-25