Acer is the Windows 8 tablet forerunner with its preview of the Iconia W700-6465 – one of our first tastes of what Microsoft has up its sleeve for what pundits are calling the “post-PC era.”
The Iconia W700 is kind of a stealth move. It looks like a tablet, but it has the guts of a full-featured laptop. That way you’ll get the tablet experience while still being able to run your company’s legacy apps made for Windows laptops and desktops. The details on Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet are still a bit sketchy at this point, but we do know that it will run the full version of Microsoft Windows 8 (like the Iconia W700), and the Surface Pro will also be a slate tablet that has laptop-like components. Question is, with the force of one of the world’s largest PC makers behind it, does the Acer Iconia W700 kill Microsoft’s Surface Pro before it even leaves the gate?
The Iconia W700-6465 is the top of the line tablet in the W700 line. It’s priced at $999.99, which is not unheard of for a high-end ultrabook laptop. For example, the Asus Zenbook Prime UX31A-R5102F goes for $999.99, and also comes with an Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 4GB of memory, 128GB SSD, and a 1,920-by-1,080 resolution screen, all specs that match the W700. Granted, the Zenbook Prime has a physically larger non-touch screen, thicker chassis, and full QWERTY keyboard, but the two are very much alike. With its dock, the W700 will feel very much like a “real PC” on your desk.
You will be able to buy an Iconia W700 tablet on Window 8 launch day, Oct. 26.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro will come with a 13.5mm-thick chassis (which is thicker than the 11.9mm of the W700), 10.6-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-resolution screen, 64 or 128GB SSD, and weighs about 2 pounds (which is close to the 2.36 pounds of the W700). The Surface Pro is running second banana status to the WinRT-powered Microsoft Surface tablet, since the ARM-powered base Surface tablet will come out sometime in October 2012, while the Surface Pro is slated for January 2013.
That’s the killer: Most, if not all of the mainline PC manufacturers (HP, Acer, Dell, and others) are expected to have their true blue Windows 8 tablets in market three months before Microsoft’s version. If Win8 tablets take off, Microsoft Surface Pro will be the latecomer to the party and will still be on the starting line in January. If the market is fickle and Win8 tablets don’t take off during the holidays, then Surface Pro will be entering a tiny niche market. Either way, Microsoft will have a tough fight ahead of it to make a mark in the tablet hardware market with the Surface tablets.