It looks like Acer is hedging its bets in the consumer tablet space. The company is currently selling a 10 inch Acer Iconia Tab A500 tablet with Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Now it looks like Acer will add an Iconia M500 MeeGo tablet to the mix later this year.
While the company’s Android tablet is powered by a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core chip, the upcoming M500 tablet will feature an Intel Atom Moorestown (Z-series) processor. The rest of the hardware looks remarkably similar. Both tablets have 10 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel displays and similar designs with silver/gray bodies and black borders around the display. The company isn’t giving out detailed specs just yet though.
The key difference is that the Acer Iconia M500 will be one of the first consumer tablets from a major PC maker to ship with the tablet-friendly version of MeeGo Linux. MeeGo is a project that’s backed by Intel and (to a diminishing degree) Nokia. We’ve seen MeeGo demonstrated on laptops a number of times, and Asus is set to launch one of the first mainstream netbooks with the OS this summer. But the tablet UI is relatively new.
While MeeGo is based on Linux, it doesnt’ look anything like your typical Ubuntu or Fedora operating system. If anything, the user interface has been tweaked to look more like Android or iOS with nice big finger-friendly shortcuts for launching programs and a series of home screen widgets. But MeeGo goes a few steps further with custom touch-based controls and at-a-glance information which can be divided up onto different home screen panels.
You can check out a few demo videos of MeeGo on the Acer Iconia Tab M500 after the break.