The folks at The Inquirer have spent some time with a rather interesting Iconia Tab W500 tablet from Acer. Rather than using ARM or Atom hardware, the system employs the very same Ontario-based C-50 APU found in Acer's impressive Aspire One 522 netbook. To this Fusion core, Acer adds a 10.1" touchscreen with a 1280x800 resolution, 2GB of memory, 32GB of solid-state storage, and dual 1.3-megapixel cameras. The whole thing weighs just over two pounds and measures 0.6" thick.
As one might expect, the Iconia comes with Windows 7 rather than a tablet-centric OS. That fits with Acer's assertion that the system is "100 per cent PC and 100 per cent tablet." It's only fitting, then, that the Iconia can pull double duty as a netbook thanks to an optional keyboard that hooks into the system via a USB port. Although the keyboard lacks a touchpad, it offers a trackpoint nubbin if you'd rather not use the touchscreen. I'd expect any USB keyboard or mouse to work with the device, as well.
According to The Inq, the W500 is scheduled to hit the UK in one week with a price of £449 ($722 USD) without the keyboard or £529 ($850 USD) with it included. We don't know whether the system will arrive in the US, but if it does, I'd expect street prices to be lower than the product of a straight currency conversion. After all, the Aspire One 522 only costs $330 on this side of the pond.
We've heard a lot of doom and gloom about tablets killing off netbooks, but the Iconia gives further credence to the theory that the two system types are on a collision course. The number of folks I've seen toting iPad keyboards certainly suggests that people like having an input alternative to their tablet's touchscreen. Throw in compatibility with Windows apps and an integrated Radeon GPU that's potent enough to handle games like Shank and Torchlight, and the W500 looks like quite a versatile system.
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