Acer reveals future game plan, app store, tablet, moreBy Matthew DeCarlo
Acer may have seemed a little bold last week when founder Stan Shih predicted the end of US computer makers, but the company is taking some big steps to trounce the world's largest and US-based PC manufacturer, HP. In a recent interview, Acer's Jim Wong revealed some of his company's upcoming products, services, and strategies.
Acer plans to boost profitability to its highest in six years with the introduction of an online application store as well as the launch of its first e-reader by mid-2010. It also plans to launch its first netbook running Google Chrome OS in the third quarter, and it's developing an Apple-inspired tablet that will run Chrome OS or Windows.
While the company's app store and e-reader will enter markets currently dominated by Apple and Amazon, it believes moving into new products will boost its net income by 3% within two years. The app store will launch with hundreds of programs, while the e-reader will feature a six-inch monochrome display and will initially target European markets.
Acer said it is "aggressively pursuing to become one of the first" to offer a Chrome OS-based netbook so there's a change from the Microsoft-Intel environment. Approximately one million of the 12 to 15 million netbooks Acer ships this year will run Chrome OS, and they will presumably feature an Arm chip, but nothing is official.
As for the tablet, Wang would only say that Acer is "developing something, and we will see what happens." The company may also purchase several operations in China and Japan, as it's still below the top four PC vendors in those markets. Acer previously acquired Gateway, eMachines, and Packard Bell, which now represent 30% of the company's total sales.