a1 mini

Everyone who's interested in a tablet that's slightly bigger than the Nexus 7, with a low-resolution screen, plastic construction, and lower specs, raise your hand. It's OK, we'll wait. Anybody? Not even if it bears a striking resemblance to a certain fruit-branded tablet? Acer's hoping for a more fervent response in June, when it plans to release the Iconia A1, a 7.9-inch WiFi tablet with an unusual (for Android) 1024x768 4:3 screen and a 1.2Ghz MediaTek quad-core processor. The 16GB model will have an MSRP of $199.99, but some outlets are already reporting retail prices at $179.99.

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Despite the lackluster screen and derivative looks, the A1 isn't all bad. It will launch with Android 4.2, something that Android software aficionados will appreciate, but of course a few Acer-designed apps are thrown in as well. These including the Digital Hub photo sharing/editor app and a touch to wake function. It also packs a 5 megapixel rear camera/.3MP front camera with an open MicroSD card slot, and a smallish 3250mAh battery. Perhaps the one hardware feature it's got against similarly-priced competitors is a MicroHDMI port right on the device. Acer's press release mentions a model with 8GB of storage (the 16GB model is the A1-810) but does not say when it will be released, or for how much. $149 seems like a good bet.

Here's a video full of attractive people staring at a tablet box. Maybe if you buy one, attractive people will stare at you - though they're more likely to ridicule you for taking pictures of your meal for one.

If the A1 seems familiar, beyond its obvious Cupertino influence, a 3G version was already announced for Europe and other territories. The Iconia B1 was shown at CES with basically identical specs and a 3G SIM card slot, but there's no indication that this more flexible model will be headed stateside. The B1 has an MSRP of €199 (about $260).

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - May 3, 2013)

Acer today unveiled the Acer Iconia A1, the company's first full-featured 7.9-inch tablet targeted at modern day explorers, adventurers, digital freaks and mobile executives requiring an all-day mobile companion. Thanks to a sleek and light-weight design that is comfortable to hold in one hand, it also easily fits into a purse or bag. The new Acer Iconia A1 keeps people entertained and connected with smooth and speedy navigation, browsing and media playback powered by a fast quad-core processor.

The Acer Iconia A1 was introduced today with other new products, including the Acer Aspire R7, Acer Aspire P3 Ultrabook and Aspire V Series touch notebooks. The new line of Acer mobile products highlights the company's focus on redefining the computing experience through progressive design. #AcerTouch.

"Tablets are becoming cherished companions to many people as they stay connected and entertained throughout their day," said Sumit Agnihotry, vice president of product marketing, Acer America. "We want everyone to experience that. Everything that makes tablets so enjoyable is even better on the perfectly-sized Acer Iconia A1. The design is comfortable to hold, while the sleek build makes it a natural extension for anyone who wants to keep their digital life right at their fingertips."

Highly Responsive Fun

Busy mobile users get the prompt performance they want with smooth video playback, and fluid and fast navigation through apps and websites powered by a fast MediaTek Quad Core 1.2GHz processor. Gestures, zooming, scrolling and navigation are all intuitive, and games are responsive, realistic and even more fun with the integrated gyroscope for movement and vibration responses.

The LED-backlit display with IPS technology and a 170-degree viewing angle vibrantly highlights videos, photos and multimedia content in accurate color and brightness. The 1024x768 resolution makes text and graphics crisp and clear, while the 4:3 aspect ratio is great for web browsing and e-reading as well as gaming.

Acer's new Touch WakeApp® gesture gives customers one-touch express access to their favorite apps directly upon waking from sleep. The Iconia A1 delivers the Google experience with services like Google Now, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, and great content such as magazines, movies, games, books and more than 700,000 apps from the Google Play Store.

Easy to take Everywhere to Stay Connected

Starting at only 0.90 pounds and measuring only 0.44 inches thin, customers will also enjoy taking it with them for navigation and location-based apps via the built-in GPS.

The Acer Iconia A1 keeps consumers connected to Wi-Fi networks and hotspots with reliable 802.11b/g/n wireless technology. Plus, the integrated Bluetooth 4.0 lets consumers quickly connect the tablet to a variety of other devices, such as headsets and printers.

Digital Hub

The 5MP rear-facing camera captures 1080p video at 30fps that can easily be edited for quick sharing on-the-go. The front-facing camera pairs with the enhanced microphone to capture video and audio clearly for video chats and recording. The micro USB 2.0 and microHDMI port enable quick transfer or sharing of customer's photos, music, videos and other digital content.

Available as 8GB or 16GB2 version with the option to add an additonal 32GB2 via microSD, the Iconia A1 is the ideal digital companion for people which are constantly up and about.

Pricing and Availability

The Iconia A1-810 with 16GB capacity will be available in June at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $199.99 USD.

Photos via MiniMachines.net

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • Kenny O

    "Who cares about a next gen Nexus 7, I can't wait to order this bad boy" said no one ever

    • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

      I'll choose 4:3 over 16:9 / 16:10 screen any day. And yes if it cost $169 and have decent screen quality, I'll grab it right away.

  • Tony

    I do love the 4:3 aspect ratio tho, same as standard 11 x 8.5 sheet of paper. Now just higher resolution screen please.

    • http://twitter.com/jorgewiegand Jorge Wiegand

      Yup, 1920X1440 would be a nice res. for this kind of tablets.

      • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

        We have to wait iPad mini with Retina first to have it on Android.

    • Amish Crusader

      Go back to 1997.

    • GraveUypo

      well, it's not the same as a4 which is the standard here (and i suppose everywhere in the metric world) which measures 11.7 x 8.3 in.

      i personally don't like 4:3. might be better for browsing in portrait but it sucks for watching any kind of video.

      • JCB

        I love it, a metric size - expressed in inches.

        If your primary use is video, then I guess you are looking at the wrong niche. There is a wide range of 16:9 Android tablets available. I would say the intended market for a 4:3 tablet is not those addicted to movies. However in practice watching a 16:9 video on an 8 inch 4:3 screen is perfectly acceptable in my experience, the image occupies a space 1024 pixels long and around 600 wide, so gives an image pretty much identical to the one you would get on a 7 inch 16:9 tablet. Buyers of 4:3 tablets have uses other than video in mind.

        • GraveUypo

          of course i put it in inches. he put the measurement for his paper size in inches, so apples to apples. i could have put it in centimeters but then would you be able to compare them directly? i didn't think so.

          also the size might be "identical" in pixels, but in actual visible area it's less than 2/3 as big than in a 16:9 tablet with the same diagonal screen size.

  • jazzruby

    Despite the lackluster screen and derivative looks, the [A2] isn't all bad.

  • http://twitter.com/trickedoutdavid David Margolin

    everything sounds pretty good but i dont feel comfortable buying a tablet with that small a battery

  • JCB

    As others have said, I too like a 4:3 aspect ratio. In many respects this is similar to my current (and first) Android tablet, bought last year at a similar price point (and before the format of the iPad mini was announced). My present tablet is the Storage Options Scroll Engage and screen-wise it is what I like (8 inch 1024x768 resolution) but I am ready now for something with more than a single core CPU and dual core graphics. The A1 does address that, and also beats my present 8 GB flash. I'd like to know what it's RAM capacity is, the Engage has 1 GB. The A1 has a higher resolution camera and also Bluetooth which the Engage lacks.
    I'll need to look at the detailed specifications to decide if it is a real upgrade candidate. Your report says it is plastic construction and I am used to a tablet with a solid aluminium back-plate. I do insist on having a SD slot, which the much vaunted Nexus 7 lacks. I would be happy to pay a bit more to get a higher pixel count on the same screen size. I'd like 2 GB RAM, I insist on a minimum of 1 GB. I need a minimum of 16 GB flash, but 32 GB would be desirable and I don't see that 64 GB should be impossible. It would be nice to get a tablet that weighs as little as the iPad Mini (310g), my Engage weighs about 440g. I won't get a 10 inch tablet as they weigh too much. The remaining thing I would like is confidence that a new tablet will get Android OS updates. I don't think there will ever be an upgrade to take the Engage beyond it's original 4.0.3 ICS.

    In summary, this is the format I like, I do want something more powerful than last year's purchase, I want to stay with Android, the A1 is a possible, but I would happily pay say another 50% over the A1 price to get a tablet I really like.

  • Cuco

    Cool! Can add storage with http://goo.gl/lfEXI . Last 15 hours to check it out!!!

  • disk Latvia

    Doesn't look like a play book to me

  • TylerChappell

    Unfortunately, Acer went into the shitter as an Android manufacturer when they announced that they were going to be too lazy and pathetic to update the A100 and A500 to Jelly Bean etc.
    Sorry Acer, no one cares about your devices when you don't care about your customers.