When the prototype was demonstrated by Bill Gates at the annual Comdex show in Las Vegas last November, the Acer convertible Tablet was labelled 'a PC that is virtually without limits' and the company's most significant new product for 2002.
Not due to hit the market until the second half of the year, the Acer Tablet features a detachable 10 inch screen that when removed from the keyboard section, becomes a 'Tablet' on which data can be manipulated with a pen. As both a traditional 'clamshell' laptop and a PDA style 'Tablet', the increase in functionality is obvious - the detachable screen will be a self-contained PC capable of accomplishing all the tasks that the combined unit can through the use of handwriting-recognition software.
The 'Tablet' PC is a broad industry initiative - versions of it are also being developed by other players including Compaq Computer and Fujitsu - and its release is also expected bolster PC sales according Gates: "It's a PC that is virtually without limits - and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America".
Developed in conjunction with Microsoft, the Acer Tablet will be powered by Windows XP Tablet PC Edition run on an Intel' Pentium' III processor - but no word yet on the expected price.