Acer will soon ship the famed Microsoft 'Courier' tablet

Acer ICONIA tablet features a dual-touchscreen, and lots of other envy-producing features.

Acer today announced a dual-touchscreen Windows 7 tablet dubbed ICONIA. It could be the ultimate envy producing, gesture recognizing, all-point touch tablet devised yet. Does the concept look familiar? It's extremely reminiscent of the Microsoft dual-screen Courier that caused a frenzy last fall.

Acer ICONIA Windows 7 tablet

Acer ICONIA looks a lot like the famed Microsoft Courier

Microsoft supposedly killed the tablet and then rumors surfaced again this summer that the Courier might come to life after all. Acer's press materials carefully credits Intel for help in developing. But note that the device runs Windows 7. Today Acer also announced two Android tablets, 7-inch and 10.1-inch, and a 4.8-inch screen Android smartphone (to do battle with the Dell 5-inch Streak).

But the ICONIA is far-and-away the coolest device of Acer's massive new product line. Instead of a start button, it features the "Acer Ring" which will appear "by placing five fingers on the screen and making a grab gesture." From the Ring you can start applications or launch a virtual keyboard among other tasks.

Acer Iconia Windows 7 tablet

ICONIA will feature the Acer Ring as its main navigation tool

The "touchbook" comes equipped with a bunch of Acer developed applications including the TouchBrowser, TouchPhoto, TouchMusic, TouchVideo each enhanced with the gesture library. Likewise it includes the apps SocialJogger, My Journal and Scrapbook.

More apps will almost certainly come because Acer also today launched its own apps store, alive, and its own media streaming/synching service, Clear.fi.

Acer didn't mention the price or release date, except to confirm that it too will be available by Q1 2011. I'll update this post when I confirm that information.

Here are the full hardware specs on the ICONIA from Acer. I'm glad I haven't bought a tablet yet. Can't wait to read the reviews on this puppy to see if it performs as great as it looks.

ICONIA Specifications

Operating system

Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit1

CPU and chipset2

Intel® Core™ i5-480M/i5-560M/i5-580M processor (3 MB L3 cache, 2.66/2.66/2.66 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 2.93/3.20/3.33 GHz, DDR3 1066 MHz, 35 W), supporting Intel® 64 architecture, Intel® Smart Cache

Mobile Intel® HM55 Express Chipset

Memory2, 3, 4

Dual-channel DDR3 SDRAM support:

  • Up to 4 GB of DDR3 1066 MHz system memory, upgradable to 8 GB using two soDIMM modules5

Display

Dual multi-touch screens

14" HD 1366 x 768 resolution, high-brightness (200-nit) Acer CineCrystal™ LED-backlit TFT LCDs, supporting all-point finger touch

Tempered glass with fingerprint-resistant coating

Mercury-free, environment-friendly

16:9 aspect ratio

Graphics

Intel® HD Graphics with 128 MB of dedicated system memory, supporting Microsoft® DirectX® 10

Dual independent display support

16.7 million colors

External resolution / refresh rates:6

  • VGA port up to 2560 x 1600: 60 Hz
  • HDMI® port up to 1920 x 1200: 60 Hz
MPEG-2/DVD decoding

WMV9 (VC-1) and H.264 (AVC) decoding

HDMI® (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) support

Audio

Optimized Dolby® Home Theater®7 v3 audio enhancement, featuring Dolby® Digital Live, Dolby® Pro Logic® IIx, Dolby® Headphone, Dolby® Natural Bass, Dolby® Sound Space Expander, Dolby® Audio Optimization, Dolby® High Frequency Enhancer technologies8

High-definition audio support

S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface)9 support for digital speakers

MS-Sound compatible

Built-in microphone

Storage

Hard disk drive: 320/500/640/750 GB or larger1, 10

Webcam

Acer Video Conference,2 featuring:

  • Acer Crystal Eye webcam with 1280 x 1024 resolution
  • Acer Video Conference Manager software, featuring Video Quality Enhancement (VQE) technology, supporting 640 x 480 resolution online video calls11

Wireless and networking

WLAN:2, 12, 13

  • Acer InviLink™ Nplify™ 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™
  • Acer InviLink™ 802.11b/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™
  • Supporting Acer SignalUp™ wireless technology
WPAN:2 Bluetooth® 3.0+HS

WWAN:2, 12 UMTS/HSPA at 850/900/1900/2100 MHz and quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE at 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, upgradable to 7.2 Mb/s HSDPA and 5.7 Mb/s HSUPA (for 3G models)

LAN: Gigabit Ethernet, Wake-on-LAN ready

Privacy control

BIOS user, supervisor, HDD passwords

Kensington lock slot

Dimensions and weight2

347 (W) x 248.5 (D) x 19/31.9 (H) mm (13.53 x 9.69 x 0.74/1.24 inches)

2.8 kg (6.18 lbs.)14 with 4-cell battery

Power adapter and battery2

ACPI 3.0 CPU power management standard: supports Standby and Hibernation power-saving modes

3-pin 65 W AC adapter:

  • 95 (W) x 50 (D) x 25.4 (H) mm (3.74 x 1.96 x 1 inches)
  • 216 g (0.47 lbs)14 with 180 cm DC cable
44 Wh 3000 mAh 4-cell Li-ion standard battery pack

Battery life: 3 hours15

ENERGY STAR®

Input and control

Multi-touch virtual keyboard with standard QWERTY layout and international language support, featuring:

  • Numeric keypad
  • Predictive text input
  • Multi-gesture handwriting mode
  • Virtual touchpad

Input and output

Two USB 2.0 ports

USB 3.0 port

HDMI® port with HDCP support

External display (VGA) port

Headphone/speaker jack with S/PDIF support

Microphone-in jack

Ethernet (RJ-45) port

DC-in jack for AC adapter

Software16

Productivity: Acer eRecovery Management; Adobe® Flash® Player 10.1; Adobe® Reader® 9.1; Barnes & Noble Desktop Reader (US only); Bing™ Bar; Device Control; eSobi™; Gesture Editor; Microsoft® Office 2010 preloaded (purchase a product key to activate)17; Microsoft® Office Starter 201018; New York Times Reader (US only); Norton™ Online Backup; Virtual Keyboard; Window ManagerSecurity: McAfee® Internet Security Suite Trial19 Multimedia: My Journal; Scrapbook; TouchMusic; TouchPhoto; TouchVideoCommunication and ISP: Acer Crystal Eye; Acer Video Conference Manager2; Skype™; SocialJogger; Microsoft® Silverlight™; TouchBrowser; Windows Live™ Essentials2 Web links and utilities: Acer Accessory Store2 (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK only); Acer Identity Card; Acer Registration; Acer Updater; eBay® shortcut 20092 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK, US only);Netflix shortcut2 (US only)

Options and accessories

2 GB / 4 GB DDR3 1066 MHz soDIMM module

3-pin 60W/90 W AC adapter

External USB optical disc drive

External USB Lite and LSI modem

Warranty

One-year International Travelers Warranty (ITW)

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