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January 26, 2018

Acer is tight-lipped about its Chrome OS tablet pictured at Bett 2018 Show

by John_A

An image posted to Twitter of an unannounced Acer tablet seen at the Bett Show 2018 education convention is no longer online. The big deal is that the device relied on Chrome OS, not Android, and the removal of the image indicates that the product is indeed real, but Acer isn’t quite ready to make an official launch. We reached out to the company for comment. 

Based on the removed image, the mystery Chrome OS tablet spotted at the convention was a 7- or 8-inch class device based on its size measured against a hand holding it for the photo. At first glance, we thought it could simply be one part of a Chrome OS-based detachable, but the front camera’s position mounted on one of the shorter ends indicated a small, vertically held device instead. 

Although tablets are seemingly a dying breed, giving way to 2-in-1s, detachables, and crazy huge smartphones, they are not quite dead just yet. Even more, news of a Chrome OS tablet isn’t anything new; the elusive “Scarlet” keeps leaving trails of its existence all over the internet. Up until now, the manufacturer was unknown, but based on the image taken during the convention, Acer appears to be the source. 

Scarlet’s unofficial details are slim. It supposedly sports a 7.9-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 1,024 x 768 resolution. Powering this screen will be RockChip’s RK3399 processor, the same chip used in Samsung’s Chromebook Plus. It’s a six-core chip containing four “little” cores to handle mundane tasks and two “big” cores that do the heavy processing. 

Other notable features spotted in rumors include a 5MP camera on the front (OmniVision OV5695), an 8MP camera on the back (OmniVision OV8858), and a stylus you can store in a special slot on the tablet. The model seen at the convention showcased this stylus, backing previous rumors. Staedtler was the company providing this pen, who just happened to be at the convention showcasing its Noris Digital concept for Chromebooks at Google’s booth. 

According to reports, Acer was not simply displaying an unannounced product at its booth. How the individual responsible for the Twitter post grabbed a snapshot of the mystery device is unknown, but the image is now gone, save for appearing in related news posts. “Grade 1, 2, 3 look what’s coming your way… Not official released but a ChromeOS tablet,” the original tweet said with a link to the uploaded image. 

Acer currently sells two sets of tablets: The stand-alone Iconia Tab 10 and three Iconia One models, One 7, One 8, and One 10. Acer’s unannounced tablet could seemingly slip in beside the Android-based Iconia One 7 as a Chrome OS alternative. The current Iconia One 7 is cheap, packing a 7-inch screen, a four-core processor, 1GB of memory, and 16GB of storage. The $99 version increases the screen resolution to 1,280 x 720 versus the 1,024 x 600 resolution in the $89 model. 

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