Is anyone else a little embarrassed by this, or is it just me? First, the stickers; oh my god, the stickers! Engadget has had some hands-on time with this device, and this is what the device actually looks like, not the sanitized press photos Acer has put out. Even the small space below the camera gets a sticker. It is like trying to see the sky in downtown New York. Forget about it. There are nothing but billboards as far as the eye can see. If there is even a small space, don't worry; they will quickly put up a small billboard to fill it. Second, they are no longer even trying to conceal the fact that what they are making is an iPad mini clone.
All they need is an Apple sticker on the back to complete the deal. The camera is in the same place. The band across the top is the same as on the cellular version of the iPad mini. The buttons on the side and top are in the same place as well. Acer even eschewed the standard, Android tablet aspect ratio so that they could copy the 4:3 ratio of the iPad mini. Exact screen size, ditto! They even used an iPS panel, iPad mini style. Obscure the acer logo. Turned off, you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this and an iPad mini, and that is exactly the point of this device.
Don't think for a moment that I am implying that Acer cannot build something original. On the contrary, they can. In fact, allow me to present exhibit B, or should I say, B1.
This is the Iconia B1. This is Acer's budget model. Considering the A1 (the iPad mini clone) is only $149, it is hard to understand why there would need to be a budget model. The B1 is what it looks like when Acer is not trying to clone the iPad. Grant it, it is hideously ugly and undesirable. But at least it is an Acer original. When you get a good look at Acer's sense of style, there is little wonder why you want to slavishly copy the iPad mini. It seems Apple's attorneys have a lot more work ahead of them.
This is just one of the many product announcements of CES 2014. It is largely why I do not cover CES. I often say that the tablet market is made up of the iPad, and the stuff that wishes it was the iPad. This is an example of what I am talking about. This is the stuff of CES. If you look at past CES Best of Show winners, they have been duds in the marketplace. But for the brief time during CES, these products get a moment to shine as the next, iPod, iPad, iPhone killer. Desperate, Hopeless junk! The rest of the show is made up of products that will never see the light of day in the marketplace. If they do, it won't be until another 6 months to a year. CES is a show that gives us a glimpse into some of the hopes and dreams and wishful thinking of manufacturers. The reality almost never pans out.
There is a chance that this is the only CES post I do. To be sure, I will be following it as I do every year. I just don't expect the pattern to change. If anything interesting crosses the wire, I'll be sure to let you know.