Acer readying Sandy Bridge tablets for first half of 2011

Acer is planning to release several tablet PCs with Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors within the first half of 2011, according to Lu Bing-Hsian, a sales manager at the company.

There will be two or three models, with sizes ranging from seven inches to 10 inches. All will run the Android operating system, most likely 3.0, Honeycomb, which caters more for tablets than previous versions and is expected to release on the Motorola Xoom within the next two months.

The processor is the most interesting thing about these tablets – and what could differentiate them from an increasingly crowded market. All of the new Acer tablets expected in the first half of this year will feature Intel’s Sandy Bridge quad-core processors, which will make them some of the fastest on the market.

Other details about the specs are unknown at present, but we can expect them to be comparably high if Acer is aiming for the higher end of the market.

The targeted audience is still the average user, however, rather than gamers, who likely will want a proper laptop or desktop for hardcore gaming, particularly considering the limited, albeit growing, range of non-casual games in tablet app stores.

Lu said that the new tablets will be aimed at “phasing out netbooks”, because, he believes, that is the direction the market is going in. This doesn’t mean that Acer is pulling the plug on its netbooks just yet, but it will be decreasing the number of models it makes as it gradually phases them out over the next few years in favour of the more popular tablets.

Acer is being tight-lipped for now about pricing for the tablet beasts, but what we know for sure is that they’re unlikely to be cheap.

Acer has been telling all and sundry for the last few months to watch out as its revs up to enter the tablet arena big time and claim the tablet throne. Some may doubt that it can rise so quickly to the top, but stuffing Sandy Bridge processors into its tablets might be just what it needs.