While new iPads continue to cost $500 and up, the market for cheaper alternatives is exploding. Unfortunately, most of the budget options are tied to smaller 7" screens with lowly 1024×600 display resolutions. Not Acer’s new Iconia Tab A200, which is set to offer a 10.1" panel with a 1280×800 display resolution. The asking price? Only $330.
Nvidia’s Tegra 2 SoC takes care of processing duties for the new Iconia, which looks to be about the same size and weight as Asus’ first-gen Transformer. Presumably to cut costs, Acer has dropped the Iconia’s rear-facing camera—no big loss on a tablet. The A200’s connectivity options are surprisingly robust, though. In addition to a standard USB port, the tablet features a Micro SD slot and a Micro USB connector. Most tablets lack even a single USB port, making the Iconia rather well-equipped in this regard.
Although the A200 will ship with the Honeycomb version of Android, Acer says an update to Ice Cream Sandwich will be available in mid-February. The tablet itself is set to hit store shelves on January 15. There will be a $330 model with 8GB of internal storage and a $350 option with 16GB of flash memory. Both will purportedly offer up to eight hours of battery life.
The old 10.1" Iconia Tab A500 has already been slashed to $342 on Amazon, likely signaling its impending exit from the market. The 7" A100 is slightly more expensive at $360, but that price should drop after the A200 becomes available. It will be interesting to see whether Acer comes out with a cheaper 7" model in the same price range as the Nook and Kindle Fire. There’s room at the high end of the Iconia lineup for a slimmer tablet based on Nvidia’s new Tegra 3 processor, too.