Acer unveils tablet running on Windows 8

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Leading Taiwanese computer vendor Acer on Monday unveiled the industry’s first 8.1-inch tablet running on Microsoft’s Windows 8 software, a move which analysts said highlighted the software giant’s bid to make inroads into the booming tablet market.

The announcement came on the eve of the opening of the annual Computex in Taipei, Asia’s leading IT trade show which is now into its 33rd year.

The new Acer tablet, called Iconia W3, weighs 540 grams (19 ounces) and is just 11.35 mm (0.45 inches) thick. It pairs with an optional full-size Bluetooth keyboard that holds the tablet upright for typing and then conveniently docks with the tablet to lay flat for easy transportation.

Despite dominating the notebook market, Microsoft has struggled to compete with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS in the tablet market.

In response, Microsoft recently slashed by 30 percent the licence fees it charges tablet vendors, according to media reports.

“The unveiling of Acer’s tablet running on Windows 8 showed that Microsoft is now looking to the tablet mainstream market which is centred on seven-eight inches,” Mars Hsu of Grand Cathay Securities told AFP.

The new tablet is expected to be available from mid-June with a minimum price of $350, Acer officials said.

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