Acer’s Iconia W510 tablet running Windows 8 hits retail shelves on Nov. 9 with a starting price equal to Apple’s iPad at $499. That cost includes a 32 GB flash memory drive for the 10.1-inch slate with 1366 x 768 screen says Acer, which made the announcement on Tuesday. Although Acer is typically known as a value brand, the Iconia W510 price could hint at even lower-cost Windows 8 RT tablets that run on smartphone chips.
This particular tablet uses an Intel Atom chip combined with the full Windows 8 desktop operating system. It can be used as a tablet for up to 9 hours on a single charge but Acer is also offering an optional dock accessory. With it, the W510 looks like a traditional laptop with a touchscreen display. The dock includes not only a keyboard and trackpad, but also a second battery that extends usage to 18 hours. Acer hasn’t broken out the dock price, but a 64 GB model of the tablet with dock is priced at $749.
When Microsoft debuted its Surface tablets for Windows 8, it declined to provide pricing details, saying only that the devices would be priced similar to Ultrabooks. Those slim laptops typically start around $700 to $799, so Acer’s new Windows 8 tablet is certainly in a reasonable price range by comparison. And Windows 8 RT tablets, which will run on ARM-based chips should be priced even lower than Intel-powered Windows 8 slates; a price of $399 to start is a reasonable possibility.
Acer’s Iconia W510 is certainly less expensive than an Ultrabook if one forgoes the keyboard dock, but I suspect most consumers will contemplate adding the option; after 26 years of Windows, it’s not known as a “touch friendly” operating system. Microsoft is working hard to change that with what it used to call the Metro user interface, but for most consumers, Windows means keyboard and mouse. Still, a positive first impression paired with a price that’s comparable to an iPad could sway purchasers this holiday season.