Burbank, CA, January 23, 2014—Cinema Without Borders, an independent publication dedicated to Independent and International Cinema, has declared ACER as the most innovative designer of consumer systems for filmmakers and film fans and awarded the company with its Seal Of Excellence.
Acer is one the companies that first introduced tablets for high-end design and illustration many years ago. In recent years Acer has produced innovative, elegant, modern and unique designs in all areas of desktop computers, all-in-ones, ultra books and tablets. After years of Apple dominating new and creative designs in the computer/mobile world, now Acer has stepped into that realm. For the same reasons, three Acer products were selected by Cinema Without Borders in our “Top Products of 2013”.
In orders to learn more about Acer, winner of CWB’s Seal Of Excellence for most innovative consumer system designs, we had the opportunity to talk to Eric Ackerson.
Bijan Tehrani: With the Acer products that we have reviewed and seen at trade shows, the reactions from media professionals has been unanimously positive. They are all talking about innovation; that Apple was once known for this quality of work and now we have seen that ACER is trying to come up with totally new systems and new ideas. How does the creative aspect work. and how has the response been from consumers?
Eric Ackerson: I would say that overall the response has been extremely positive. It has allowed us to be viewed in a different light from our customers and consumers because we are taking chances, pushing the boundaries and pushing the limits of design and materials. We at Acer have always been about bringing new technology to market and making it accessible for high-end users, and the fact is a lot of people don’t know that! So we are trying to make these new designs visible so that people recognize that this is one of the things we do and the designs are amazing and the response has been very positive.
BT: The new designs look like real artists are coming up with ideas before the technical people bring them to life, is this true?
EA: Absolutely, that is actually a good observation. We aren’t looking at it from a technology standpoint; once all the tech is in we try to make a housing that can fit around it. We are saying, “How do people use these systems?” and trying to figure out how we can make it more seamless and make it easier to integrate technology in their life without even really having to think about it. So we are accomplishing our goal of bringing new technology to market and making it accessible to users an,d more importantly, making it seamless so they don’t even realize that there is all of this tech stuffed into this sexy design.
BT: The Acer Aspire7 has been out for a while, but we have been putting it through the paces using very sophisticated software packages like Adobe Premier Pro (the newest version, of course) and it has responded very well, plus it has the beautiful aesthetic. When you compare it to other similar products, it is very reliable—which is very important for performance—it is easy to use, and it’s a very elegant product.
EA: Yea the S7 launched on October 26th of last year. Steve Balmer, CEO of Microsoft, held it up on stage and proclaimed that this is the way windows should be used on a device like this because our design concept was all about toughness, which led us to make the unique hinge design, the solid aluminum frame around the screen. the aluminum unibody design around the keyboard, and the gorilla glass on the lid of the device. Although it is aesthetic and looks nice, it is really more about the structure and function of the device and then you mentioned the design:the appearance it is definitely what I would call ‘modern classic’. It is elegant and it is not overdesigned and it is not gaudy and it can stand the test of time. When I take it to an event and I go to quite a few and expose both customer and high-end users to the products, they are really amazed because they have never seen something like this from Acer. They are used to the more value price-sensitive products that are designed specifically to meet certain price points, and industrial design classic. It is a joy to be able to show people this product and explain all the benefits that come with it. We have already made one design upgrade. if you will, to the product. The first product was S7391 we are now on S7392, and it just makes the parts even better and most people cannot tell the difference between the first and second one.
BT: What are the additional features that have been added to the new version?
EA: A couple of things that people won’t see (or it will be very hard for them to notice) but we have extended the battery life. We have done this by making the thickness, what we call d-height, ever-so-slightly thicker. This allows us to put a more dense battery and we have paired it with really good technology from Intel for CPUs and all of the motherboard components that go with it, and it improves the product performance. We have the ability to do what we call key travel, so it is even more comfortable than before to type. We have updated the hardware and software that control the cooling technology inside, which on the first generation was just called twin-air cooling. Now it is twin air cooling two, so the blades of the fan have been redesigned so the fans can spin slower and produce more amount of air and produce less noise, so it is just a system that benefits in a number of ways. The screen technology has changed a bit: we now offer what is called a UUHD, or a quad standard HD (2556×1440) resolution, as well something called channel self reflex built into the screen. So if you were to hold a camera up to a typical computer screen and look through the viewfinder on the camera, you will see that the image flickers because the screen is refreshing. With our system, all of those types of things that you are looking at on a screen, whether it is a power point presentation or reading a web page that doesn’t have rotating graphics—the screen doesn’t have a refresh, so this means that it is using less electricity and it is not taxing the CPU or the graphics chip inside of it. It produces less heat which reduces the use of the battery so you are extending battery life, but a real world benefit to the end use is that flicker that you don’t naturally see with your eye is not there, so there is less eye strain so you can sit comfortably in front of that screen for a longer period of time.
BT: Would you say the concentration of the company is more on tablets and ultra books, or is there also a focus on desktop systems?
EA: That is a good question. I think an analyst can look at what is happening in the computer space and quickly write-off desktops, and I think people have made proclamations about that for a while so we are seeing growth and part of that is because of the attention we pay to design—both functionality and aesthetically—that we are putting onto our products, particularly the all in ones. They are gorgeous products and they have cutting edge technology in them, so we are gaining market share and seeing a strong bit of sales in the desktop space so we have not left it behind at all.
BT: We have picked your tablet as one of the top devices of 2013 because it is one of the best products out there for professionals. The W700 is an outstanding tablet that offers users some of the best performance on the market.
EA: The W700 is a great machine, it is very capable and very powerful and serves multiple roles. The design is small and compact and yet very feature rich. The best use case is really to make it your single PC device. So if you are in an office environment, you can come in to the office and dock it and connect maybe to a larger display if the user wanted to, work on it all day and then you simply take it as a tablet itself and go home and enjoy it for consumption or working as a tablet. It is powerful, it is not a toned down machine at all. it has essentially the same components that you will find in most of our ultra books.
BT: When you look at products from your company, what would you say is next? How do you plan to top yourselves?
EA: So we are definitely working on next generation products, I can’t tell you much about what they will look like or function like except to say that we are constantly improving and doing a lot of research with end users, customer feedback and internally, as well as looking at what is happening in the industry as a whole. We ask ourselves, “This is a great product, but what can we do to make it better? What can we do to make the touch experience better to make it more reactive, to make battery life last longer and make it more powerful so more people can use it?” So the design team, both from a industrial design for how it looks and functionality by interface, are working very closely with the engineering to make sure we can get new technologies. Wit this partnership we are making advances like the aforementioned W2H panels, adding self refresh, incorporating wide eye into more devices, and anti theft technologies. Those two groups have paired together to create beautiful products, so we have a lot of innovation ahead of us.
BT: Most people don’t know that Acer was one of the first companies that came up with graphic tablets.
BT: Also could tell us a little about Acer cloud.
EA: Cloud is obviously a very useful consumer and business tool. Being able to access files from anywhere and share them remotely without having to connect to a PC is quite nice, and even storage companies like Seagate have external hard drives that connect to a network and make content available over the internet. So Acer Cloud kind of builds on that, but it is a little bit different. We are not offering to store people’s data in a huge server farm where obviously they are vulnerable to malware and attacks and all that. Obviously cloud service is pretty secure, but there are risks. What we are doing is saying that we are going to take the storage that is already on your Acer device, whether it is an S7 ultra book, a W7 tablet, one of our desktops or one of our many other devices, and we are going to make that storage available on the cloud. We worked long and hard to make sure our products have long battery life and can be remotely accessed. So if I have an S7 on my desk at the office and I go out for lunch and someone calls me and says, “Hey, I really need this file and I am 20 minutes away from the office!” I can use my ACER cloud app for android and iOS device and remotely access my PC that is on my desk at work and share that file with people. So it is using the storage that is already there. There are no fees and the storage is already generally much larger that what you would get from typical cloud services and it is free.
BT: Do any of your products support the new feature from Intel that allows you to wirelessly send your screen to another screen?
EA: Yes, wireless display is often shortened to WiDi, and a number of our products support WiDi technology. I think the big challenge for the industry is getting bigger screens like TVs predominantly to natively support WiDi, otherwise it won’t support the purchase from the consumer to buy a box that they connect to the TV. We are seeing more and more smart TVs that come out with that feature built in, so yes we are going to support that as well as a competing standard called MirrorCast.
BT: Which ACER products support this feature?
EA: Right off the top of my head, the second generation S7 supports WiDi, the second generation of something we call R7 will support WiDi. Also there area number of notebooks and ultra categories, like the G7 series, that will support it. Some of our all-in-ones will also support it.
BT: Thank you so much for you time. The future looks bright for Acer!.