Acer gets first mover advantage at CES – which doesn’t official start until Tuesday – with its Sunday press conference. It chose the event to announce its new cloud-based service, which, gasp, looks rather similar to Apple’s iCloud. Guy Daniels reports.
The gadget world loves the CES show. Held every January in the hideously awful and soul-destroying pleasure city that is Las Vegas, it’s become a magnet for gadget lovers and computer nerds [can’t believe you haven’t been, Ed]. It’s also been the traditional launch pad for the year’s hottest new consumer electronics technology – from TVs to game consoles, and mobiles to laptops.
First to announce its new offerings this year was Taiwanese computer manufacturer, Acer. It held its press conference on Sunday, two days before the show actually begins. As such, it found a news-starved media ready and waiting to report on the latest innovations. Except ‘innovation’ is probably a little generous to describe Acer’s latest offering.
Dubbed AcerCloud, the service is, you guessed it, a cloud solution. In the company’s own words: “AcerCloud connects all personal devices securely for anytime, anywhere access to digital media and data.” Here’s more from the press release:
“With the ever-growing number of smart digital devices, users need to share and back up their multimedia and data files in a simple, smart way. Featuring Acer Always Connect technology, users can retrieve multimedia and data files anytime, even when their main PC is in sleep mode. AcerCloud, meanwhile, intelligently uses local and cloud storage together so all data is always available.”
So far, so good. But consider some of the other features of AcerCloud. First, what the company calls PicStream”
“Through PicStream, users can take holiday snapshots on their smartphone, back them up on the main PC, and share them efficiently with other smart devices.
Users can stream photos in the Cloud to PCs and other devices; photos are backed up permanently on their PC, and temporarily accessible for 30 days in their personal cloud and on other devices.”
Sound familiar? Here’s a clue: Apple’s iCloud has a feature called Photo Stream that… well, just cut and paste the above. Then there’s AcerCloud Docs:
“Professionals can update sales documents on a PC and save them, and the documents will be put into the personal cloud and streamed to other devices. They can then go to their meeting with their notebook or tablet PC and have immediate access to all the updated files.”
Sound familiar? Go take a look at Apple’s ‘Documents in the cloud’ feature. Acer has placed a limit of 30 days on personal cloud storage, whether for its photo or document service, or else users can download them for long-term storage. Oh, and connectivity to the cloud is provided by Acer’s new ‘clear.fi’ media app. Sound familiar? You bet it does. Here’s what Acer president Jim Wong has to say:
“AcerCloud not only provides the simplicity and efficiency when accessing and sharing data, but it’s also free with a new Acer PC and gives our users peace-of-mind, knowing that their data is safely transferred in a personal cloud space.”
It’s not only the concepts and names that have a too-close-for-comfort relationship with Apple’s iCloud. Acer chose to present the service using presentation graphics that were incredibly similar to Apple’s. Don’t believe it? Go visit the Verve website where they display them side-by-side. Incredible, for all the wrong reasons.
The company used the same press conference to announce its upcoming 1080p quad-core Acer Iconia tablet. At last, some true innovation. Due out in the second half of 2012, the Android 4.0 powered tablet will feature a 1900 by 1080 resolution display, making it the first announced tablet to be able to play true 1080p HD video. It will then be Apple’s turn to play catch-up, unless of course it can get it’s mooted iPad 3 out of the factory and into the shops before Acer’s Iconia. Don’t bet against them.
With cloud services available from not only Acer and Apple, but Microsoft, Google, Dropbox and many more, what’s going to persuade consumers to use AcerCloud? The price point is it’s biggest selling feature – i.e. it’s free with all new Acer computers – that plus the fact that it’s compatible with Android devices (no details yet on backwards compatibility for OS versions).
AcerCloud will be bundled on all Acer consumer PCs starting in the second quarter of this year. It will support Android devices, while future support is planned for Windows-based devices. Note the lack of iOS…
No doubt we will soon be able to add Acer to the list of companies being targeted by Apple’s legal representatives.
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