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Acer says no plans to launch non-tablet devices on ARM

06/04/2012 | 02:01am US/Eastern
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Taiwan's Acer Inc said on Monday it would remain closer to U.S. chipmaker Intel, even though Microsoft also embraces rival ARM for its new Windows 8 operating system.

The world's No.4 PC vendor has given an upbeat outlook for the second half after delivering a quarterly net profit that lagged market expectations in April, betting on the launch of Microsoft's new Windows system and more slimline ultrabook computers.

The company is recovering from two consecutive quarters of losses in April to September last year and a management shake-up.

Acer said on Monday, ahead of the opening of Taiwan's annual Computex trade fair, that it would formally launch new ultrabook and tablet designs after Microsoft puts its new windows system in the market, expected in the fourth quarter, with the first shipments starting in August and volume shipment commencing in September.

The first wave of Windows 8 products will be using Intel chips, while ARM-based designs will not be in market until 2-4 months later, expected in the first quarter.

"Finally the couple (Windows and Intel) recover their relationship," Acer Chairman J.T. Wang told reporters at a small group interview. "We are more familiar with the Windows ecosystem, our supply chain is also mainly in the Window ecosystem."

Wang said Acer has no plans so far to launch non-tablet devices using ARM designs.

"According to engineer studies, unless we go into ARM 64-bit, otherwise performance is still not so great," he said. "ARM is a newcomer, young and attractive but it takes some time."

Acer is showcasing new tablet computer models in slate and convertible design - or with and without conventional keyboards - based on the Windows 8 system at Computex this year, as well as two touch ultrabooks, which use aluminium metallic casings which enable cost competitiveness, and come in 12mm thickness.

"I have never been so supportive to Microsoft," Wang told a news conference earlier on Monday. "We have a good opportunity to grow again after the Windows 8 launch. Acer is fully committed to deliver a full line of Windows 8 products."

Acer said prices for these new gadgets would be announced after the launch of Windows 8. But in a powerpoint at the presentation it said the touch ultrabook would range from $1,799, significantly higher than the below $1,000 non-touch ones currently in the market.

Ultrabooks are an ultra-thin notebook PC that is similar to Apple Inc's Macbook Air and offers some of the technological chic of the iPad and other tablets.

But some investors are concerned that the expensive components used in ultrabooks, such as solid-state drives, make them too pricey for many consumers.

In April, Acer lowered its ultrabook shipment contribution forecast for 2012 to 12-20 percent from 25-35 percent, but still saw its ultrabook shipments in the second quarter would double from the first quarter and they would keep growing for the rest of the year, with four new models planned.

(Editing by Alex Richardson)

By Clare Jim and Argin Chang

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