According to Reuters, Acer has slashed its annual target for tablet sales by almost sixty percent. Where the firm originally intended to ship between 5 million and 7 million units this year, it has revised its targets dramatically downwards to between two and a half and three million units.
Part of the reason is undoubtedly the recession - Tesco reported this week that sales of non-food items such as gadgets had dropped by around 5% - but Acer's sales drops have been particularly bad, with Reuters reporting a total sales drop of 29.2% last month. Other firms are doing okay - Asus reckons it'll dominate the Android market by the end of June - so is Acer unlucky, or is there something more happening here?
The big problem for Acer, like many other tablet firms, is Apple. Asus' imminent market dominance is due to sales of around 300,000 tables in June, but in that period Apple's likely to shift around two million. To compete, you need to be as good as Apple - and judging by the reviews of Acer's Iconia line, Acer simply isn't. Techradar called its Windows-based Iconia Tab W500 "horrendously frustrating", while CNET said the Android equivalent, the A500, was a bit of a porker compared to the newly launched iPad 2.
Then again, the Wall Street Journal reckons the A500 is "the best choice for consumers looking for an alternative to the iPad", so maybe the key thing Acer needs to address is its public image. It can't hope to get the fawning press Apple so often benefits from, but Asus' success with its Eee Pad Transformers and other tablets demonstrates the power of quirky ideas in securing column inches.
Acer has always been good at manufacturing; maybe now it needs to do some work on its marketing.
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