Acer launches Tablets, Smartphones and Dual-Screen Notebooks

Acer Iconia
Acer Iconia: The dual-screen Notebook.

Acer which is more often than not known for its efficient Notebooks and its customized production of Ferrari Smartphones, now wants to gain a lot of attention. This attention-grabbing stint of Acer will be through the launch of not just one product, but the unveiling of a whole range of new-age hardware products which shall cater to a future-ready consumer audience. In the earlier days (early 2000) it was and even now is to some extent, Apple which regularly comes up with novel products that are termed legendarily as ground-breaking innovations. In the recent past, Apple is slowly but steadily facing competition from several players who also seem to have started making headlines with their innovative product-launches.

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What empowers the revolution called ~ Android

It has been quite an exciting ride for Android from being seen as a very small time substitute of Apple’s iPhone to becoming the most sought after mobile operating system. There are many reasons cited which personify Android to be one of the best technological innovations that has happened in the last decade or so. It is vital that we know the chief aspects which essentially empower Android and have, over a period of time transformed it to be more popular than iPhones.

Always a competitor of iPhone!

Android since its inception is seen as a competition of Apple’s iPhone. It was not too long ago when Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Google and Apple were all on the same page and it was Apple that broke the shackles with the initiation of the iPhone in the year 2007. It was written off by Blackberry and Windows who persisted on bringing something better than the iPhone. However, one player — Google, followed iPhone’s lead and brought out its own mobile operating system — Android the very next year in 2008.

Having followed pursuit, Android has over time grown and developed to an extent wherein its applications, features, etc. are considered better off than those possessed by Apple’s iPhone.

Android

The backing of a Brand

Android is a system that is dependent on Open-Source and Linux. Though in recent times the number of Linux users has been on the rise, it is yet to make a major impact on the personal computer market. Forecasts are still made on the fact that ‘Linux will eventually replace Windows’ and many mobile operators since have put in efforts to incorporate Linux, but in vain. Android is the one that adapted Linux onto its system and has thus enhanced Linux’s growth in the mobile phone business beyond growth in both desktop and server business.

All this has been possible because of one major factor and that is the brand name of Google. Whatever scandal it may have been in or is still involved in, Google has since long achieved tremendous trust and brand loyalty from its consumers. This is a result of decades of hard and innovative work that Google has put in.

The existence of a Chaotic yet Organized Eco-System

Firms like Samsung, HTC, and Motorola represent the manufacturers’ side and the number could increase with the addition of Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, Dell, NEC, Sharp, Toshiba, and others to the team. Besides this, there exists another team – Telecom Carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Sprint, AT&T, China Telecom, KDDI, and Telefonica. The existence of such an array of telecom carriers and manufacturers represents chaotic competition amongst themselves, albeit the competition would ultimately bring out the best Android package.

Developers love Android

The developer’s ultimate choice – Android

A recent report stated that 72% developers were of the feeling that Android is “best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future.” Scott Schwarzhoff, vice president of Appcelerator, the company that did the survey, said, “You will see Android embedded on devices beyond the smartphone — tablets, connected TVs, conference systems like Cisco’s TelePresence, stereos, refrigerators, automobiles. How many devices could benefit from the Android operating system? The answer is : A Lot. It is the next-generation operating system.”

Android and its ruthless Novel Practices

It has been the forte of Google’s to only produce devices, software applications, products and services that are primarily innovative. Going by this philosophy Google’s Android is only expected to get more innovative and deliver novel applications, features and uses. And to sponsor this it has the backing of the above mentioned manufacturers, telecom players, developers, etc.

Going forward, there’s no reason why Android should not over-take Apple’s iPhone.

(Photo: Laihiuyeung Ryanne)

No Frills ultra portable laptop for under $350

Yes, yes, we all know of yesterday’s MacBook Air announcement by Steve Jobs from Apple and it’s indeed the thinnest, sleekest and sexiest laptop ever. Let’s not go deep into that as everybody is already aware of it by now; let’s look at something we missed in the Indian Business scenario with its latest cult of small-cheap-cool products — the no-frills ultra-portable laptop from HCL InfoSystems.

The MiLEAP X Series “Leaptop” runs on an Intel Celeron 400 MHz processor and sports the following feature —

  • 512 MB DDR II RAM
  • Wi-Fi but not Bluetooth
  • Two USB Port
  • One LAN Port
  • One Card Reader Port
  • 7″ LCD Display but not Webcam
  • No Hard Drive (upgradable with an additional Rs. 2,000 which is about $50)

The base standard “Leaptop” price starts at Rs. 13,990 (~$350).

My first verdict upon reading the news was; it’s OK for posterity sake but who’ll buy that. What would you do with a 512 MB RAM on a Celeron Processor? Moreover, this is costlier than the One Laptop Per Child (more about OLPC on Wikipedia) Laptop. Personally, I’m not sure if this should be exciting at all after Tata’s success about their recently popular Tata Nano, the $2,500 car.

Nonetheless, let’s dwell a little deeper into the new MiLEAP “LeapTop” and rejoice with the fact that India is being extremely innovative these days in all front – business, technology, the economy, et al.

The “Leaptop” will be preloaded with a Linux OS. A built-in HDD with Windows version will cost Rs. 16,990 (~$425). The built-in Wi-Fi is, however, a much-needed feature wherein today’s Internet era one would be stupid to have a Laptop without Wi-Fi access. The whole manufacturing, assembling of the “LeapTop” is being done in an Indian State – Uttranchal.

Although some believe that the latest breed of cheap laptops is closer to being high-end organizers than being lower-end laptops, it could still make a compelling buy for first-timers and collectors or those who wish to get their young kids started with computers.

It may be remembered that there are many other players in this cheap-laptop segment already. UK-based company ACi had launched its Ethos 7 priced at Rs. 14,990 (excluding tax). This too has features like a seven-inch display, a 512 MB DDR II RAM, Wi-Fi, and a 40 GB HDD. The memory cannot be upgraded. By the end of this month, Asus, a Taiwanese player, plans to launch its Eee PC 4G with similar specs – seven-inch screen, Linux OS and flash memory. The device is expected to be priced around Rs. 16,000.

On another perspective, leading PC vendor Acer’s cheapest laptop costs Rs. 19,990 and has a 14.1-inch display whereas the entry-level laptop from HP costs Rs. 27,000 a features a Celeron 440 MHz processor, a 14″ screen and a DVD drive. The cheapest Intex laptop is at Rs. 27,900. Last year, Indian company Zenith launched a Rs. 25,000 laptop, then touted as the cheapest.

Well, if you’re outside the budget constraint and wish to get one of the sleekest, sexiest and the thinnest notebook in the world, then Apple just announced their MacBook Air yesterday at the MacWorld Expo. The MacBook Air is costly at $1,799 but justified with its features – sporting a silvery finish, it boasts of a 13.3-inch LED-backlit widescreen display that has a 1280 × 800 pixel resolution, provides “instant-on” response from the moment you turn it on, weighs just about 3 pounds, and sports a thickness of 0.16-0.76 inches. It’s 12.8 inches wide and 8.95 inches deep.