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Acer doubles down on hybrids, aims for sub-$50 smartphones next year

The Taiwanese tech giant isn’t giving up on hybrid laptops, or on Microsoft’s operating system, revealing a slew of new notebooks at the IFA tech trade show in Berlin.

Acer is keeping the hybrid faith, unleashing a slew of new half-laptop half-tablet gadgets upon the world, including the new hinge-swivelling Aspire R13 series.

The R13 (shown above) brings a swivelling hinge to the mix, of the kind we’ve seen before from the likes of Dell. By swinging the R13’s 13.3-inch screen out of its bezel, you can spin the display down, turning the machine into a chunky tablet, or spin it backwards, using the keypad as an impromptu stand. The R13 is less than 1-inch thick, Acer boasts, and weighs just over 1.5kg.

The R14 series meanwhile is another hybrid range with 14-inch displays. These are differently constructed however, and transform to tablet mode using a hinge that swivels 360 degrees, letting you push the screen around until it bumps into the back of the keyboard. Ensuring that it has every conceivable mode of turning a laptop into a tablet covered, the new Aspire Switch 11 series features a magnetic hinge to completely detach the notebook’s screen from its keyboard.

Still tight with Microsoft

Acer’s betting big on hybrid Windows 8 devices at IFA, despite chairman and CEO J.T. Wang having taken a few pops at the RT version of Microsoft’s operating system in the past, calling it not “so influential anymore” last year. At the company’s IFA press conference today however, Acer emphasised the two companies’ enduring partnership.

“We deeply appreciate Acer’s commitment to Windows 8,” Tony Prophet, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows marketing, said in a pre-recorded video statement aired at the press conference. “Acer has renewed energy and confidence. We look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with Acer.”

Smartphones for under $50

Acer says it has set itself the goal of creating a range of smartphones that cost less than $50. There’s no word on what these mythical mobiles will look like, or what hardware they’ll use, but Acer says it’s gunning to get them released in 2015.

With powerful smartphones like the Motorola Moto G now available for surprisingly little cash, it’ll be interesting to see if Acer can undercut the rest of the tech world even further. The company doesn’t have a big presence when it comes to phones, so may be looking to make a name for itself at the wallet-friendly end of the smartphone spectrum.

Tablets and a desktop

Acer also lifted the lid on three new tablets. The Iconia Tab 8W is an 8-inch affair and runs Windows 8.1, the Iconia Tab 10 has a 10.1-inch display and runs Android 4.4, while the Iconia One 8 also runs Android 4.4, and packs an 8-inch screen.

Acer is also touting a new desktop computer dubbed the Revo One. Taking a design cue from Apple’s Darth-Vader-pedal-bin Mac Pro, this cube-like, glossy gadget packs up to 6TB of storage.

Read more at CNET

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