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Acer Targets iPad 2 With £350 Iconia A500

Acer has announced today the launch of a new version of the Iconia A500 Android-based tablet which has half the memory of its bigger brother and comes with a suggested retail price of only £349.99 (opens in new tab).

The Taiwanese manufacturer has been under a lot of pressure lately to adjust its price to be in line with its arch-rival, the Asus Eee Pad Transformer which carries a SRP of £350 and only 16GB.

Apart from the reduction in onboard capacity, there are no apparent alterations compared to the existing A500 model which can be had for around £395 (opens in new tab). There is still Android Honeycomb 3.0 (with no apparent upgrade coming to Honeycomb 3.1), a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen display, a five-megapixel rear-facing camera and a HD front-facing one, a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 SoC clocked at 1GHz, 1GB RAM, Wi-Fi, optional 3G, a microSD card slot and an HDMI port.

At 13.3mm, it is nearly 50 per cent thicker than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Acer has also included its proprietary Clear.fi media sharing system for "seamless integration" with other Clear.fi-enabled products as well.

It is unlikely that Acer will release a 16GB version of the Iconia W500, the Windows's equivalent of the A500, because of Windows 7's technical requirements.

Even with the price drop, the A500 loses out to the Eee Pad Transformer because it doesn't have that all important docking station that converts Asus' tablet into a laptop.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.