Acer unveils new weird tablet-slate hybrids

From a content consumption point-of-view, there are few devices better than a touchscreen tablet. Of course, they are only accessible via two-dimensional keyboards that are—to put it one way—absolutely horrible to type on. With this in mind, manufactures have been experimenting with all manner of tablet/ultrabook/laptop/slate hybrids in both form and price point. To that end, Taiwan-based manufacturer Acer used their global press invent in NYC to throw out some new toys that play with this fuzzy hybrid territory.

Acer Aspire R7

Acer Aspire R7

The company introduced a number of touchy-typey devices that can act as both a media consumption slate and a versatile keyboard-powered workstation.

First up was the Acer Aspire R7, a Windows-based touchscreen laptop hybrid. The screen attaches to the keyboard via an “Ezel hinge,” a sturdy connector that allows the screen to be placed into a traditional laptop upright position, fold in half to act as a touchscreen slate, or to float up above the keyboard as a shared horizontal workspace.

A brief hands-on experience with the Ezel hinge showed a versatile workspace that truly remained in place even as it was batted around. The company touts that the Ezel can handle up to 250 grams of force (a little over half a pound). Users will also take notice that the A7 still has a touchpad, but it is placed in back of the keyboard and the screen can be brought forward to come closer to the user.

The R7 comes with a 15.6-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 LCD backlit screen. It has four speaker stereos and a built-in dual array microphone. The total device clocks in at a beefy 14.83 x 10.02 x 1.12 inches, weighs in at just over 5 pounds, and can only boast an unfortunate 4.5 hours of battery life. The computer’s internal engine is powered by an Intel i7-3537U, i5-3337U, and Mobile Intel HM77 Express Chipset.

The R7 available exclusive to Best Buy beginning May 14 starting at $1,000.

Acer Aspire P3

The Acer Aspire P3

Similar to the R7, the 11.6-inch Aspire P3 is an ultrabook that will come on a versatile Ezel hinge. A smaller cousin to the R7, the P3 is more mobile and will detach from the keyboard to become a touchscreen slate.

The P3 is also Windows 8 powered and comes with a 5MP rear camera and a 720p HD front-facing camera. The A7 comes with either 60GB or 120GB standard. The keyboard and tablet weigh in at just over three pounds, though the detached slate is just over 1.7 pounds.

The P3 will come with several configurations starting at $800.

Acer Iconia A1

Acer Iconia A1

The Iconia A1 is a $169 (!) 7.9-inch Android-powered touchscreen slate that weighs in at under a pound and will come in both 3G and wifi flavors. It runs on Jelly Bean on top of a 1.2GHz quad core CPU by MTC. It comes equipped with a 5MP rear camera, and 0.3MP front-facing camera that can record at 30 fps at VGA 640 x 480.

Acer touts the feathery Iconia as a one-handed tablet, and with its diminutive weight and 0.43-inch width is easily handled in one paw.

What will stick?

While the Acer suits who spoke at the event made specific mention that they were not interested in throwing various types of products at the public and seeing what sticks, that’s kind of what this bevy of versatile offers feels like. And to be sure, the Aspire A7 feels like a new type of thing that will be of use to some consumers, and a $169 slate will be tempting. So, even tough Acer says they’re not just throwing things at the wall, I will be interested to see what will stick.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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