I recently wrote about how companies serious about entering into the crowded tablet market would need to compete against Apple by offering a less expensive alternative to the iPad. Acer, which is the number two computer company in the world (behind HP) has been offering less expensive alternatives in the laptop, netbook, and desktop computer market. When I see a company that can offer a full featured laptop computer in the sub-$400 price range, I had a feeling that Acer would be the first with a full featured tablet priced below an Apple iPad 2.

The Acer Iconia tablet computer is feature rich and includes the following:

NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core processor features a 1.0GHz processing speed, 1 GB DDR2 memory, 10.1″ WXGA high-definition touch-screen display 1280 x 800 resolution, 16 GB eMMC on-board memory, NVIDIA GeForce graphics with micro-HDMI output for connection to an HDTV, built-in 2.0MP webcam rear-facing 5.0 MP camera, digital media card reader supports microSD up to 32 GB, high-speed USB 2.0 port, built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless LAN, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, weighs only 1.7 lbs. and measures just 0.5″ thin, extended battery life up to eight hours, Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system

The specifications are impressive and priced at $449 at Best Buy. Acer seems to have a tablet that may just be able to compete against the Apple iPad — or can it? On Monday morning I took a ride up to our local Best Buy for a look-see at the Acer Iconia.

The unit is slightly heavier than an Apple iPad 2. Starting up the system is quick and is comparable with the Apple iPad 2. The Iconia worked great when I went to take a picture. All of a sudden the system froze and was unresponsive and forced a hard boot. To be fair, this was a demo model and had been handled by many customers. One can conclude that someone may have changed a setting or two, which could be the culprit for the freeze.

I found the Android Honeycomb operating system very responsive without any lag or slowdown. In fact I used the Acer Iconia on and off for about an hour without any issues. Google Android OS is comparable to the Apple iOS and works well. In fact, I believe Acer has a product that could be an alternative to the Apple iPad 2, since it is priced at $50 less.

My opinion is that the Acer Iconia is a viable alternative to the Apple iPad 2 and is currently priced lower.

Comments welcome.