Acer replaces 500,000 netbook orders with tablets

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Acer is ramping down production of its Aspire One netbooks to focus on manufacturing tablets, according to DigiTimes' always-elusive anonymous insiders. Sources from touchscreen makers have told the site that the Taiwanese system builder has set an aggressive production target for April 2011, ordering 400,000 to 500,000 10.1-inch touchscreens for the month.

While Apple has occupied much of the touchscreen supply, certain Taiwan-based first-tier touchscreen manufacturers like TPL Holding are still willing to feed Acer panels. Earlier this month, analysts estimated that Apple controlled roughly 60% of the touchscreen capacity, moving quickly to secure deals following the Japanese earthquake. Despite Cupertino's grip on the market, Acer has been able to achieve 60 to 70% of its shipment forecast.

Although Acer is scaling down its netbook production and it expects its PC shipments to fall 10% sequentially in the second quarter, the company intends to crank out traditional notebooks at the usual pace. That projection is reportedly keeping Acer's suppliers optimistic about its second-quarter performance. Nonetheless, the company's stock price has dropped 46% since the fourth quarter of last year and it plans to address investors' concerns on April 28.

DigiTimes also hears that Acer plans to launch a 14.1-inch notebook featuring LG's ultra-thin Shuriken panel as early as next month. In addition to being significantly thinner, the Shuriken reduces the panel frame's width from 1.2cm to 8mm, allowing the 14.1-inch screen to fit inside a 13.3-inch body. It's also about 50% more expensive than traditional notebook panels, so you can expect to pay a premium as with the MacBook Air and competing machines.

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