The Acer Iconia Tab A500 is one of several 10-inch Android tablets priced below the Apple iPad. It has a dual-core NVidia Tegra 2 1GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 10.1-inch touchscreen display (1280x800), a 2 MP front camera, and 5 MP rear camera. It comes with Android 3 Honeycomb installed.
As of this writing, the A500 is available in 16GB ($449.99) and 32GB ($499.99) versions. The current models only support Wi-Fi connectivity. There is speculation that Acer will release a 3G version on AT&T (the A501) in mid-2011. As with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, there already a spot on the A500's motherboard for a 3G card.Cracking Open the Acer Iconia Tab (A500)
Cracking Open observations
- Easy-open case: There are no external case screws on the Iconia Tab, but the back cover was surprisingly easy to remove. Using a thin metal or plastic blade, I was able to quickly pop off the cover.
- Standard screws: Inside the Iconia Tab, Acer used standard Phillips screws to hold the internal hardware in place. I was able to remove all the internal screws using a Phillips #0 bit.
- Battery can be replaced: The Iconia Tab's 3260 mAh Li-ion battery is easy to remove and replace.
- Display is stuck to the front panel: The front panel (digitizer) and LCD screen are held together with strong adhesive. Separating the two components could result in damage to either or both.
- 3G-ready motherboard and case: Acer left open spots on the motherboard and inside the case for a separate 3G card and antenna. The internal mounting plate even has screw holes for the card.
- Organized internal hardware layout: Compared to the Asus Eee Pad Transformer's cluttered interior, the Iconia Tab has a more organized internal design. Provided you could get replacement parts, this tablet shouldn't be too difficult to repair.
Our Acer Iconia Tab A500 test unit had the following hardware components:
- 3260 mAh, 24Wh Li-Polymer battery (BAT100)
- GoerTek microphones (x2)
- Atmel mXT1386 touchscreen controller
- Atmel mXT154 touchcreen controllers (x3)
- AU Optronics B101EW05 10.1" LED-backlit WXGA display (1280x800)
- 2 MP front-facing and 5MP rear-facing cameras
- Compal WLAN antenna (DC33000UK20)
- 1.0 GHz dual-core NVidia Tegra 2 application processor (12B2B305 1108A3)
- 1GB Elpida B8132B2PB-6D-F LPDDR2 SDRAM
- Texas Instruments LVDS83B power controller
- Wolfson WM8903 Ultra low power audio CODEC
- Invensense MPU-3050 Triple Axis Gyroscope with Embedded Digital Motion Processor
- Broadcom BCM4751 Integrated Monolithic GPS Receiver
- Intersil ISL6251 Low Cost Multi-Chemistry Battery Charger Controller
- Texas Instruments 51125 Dual-Synchronous, Step-Down Controller (power management chip)
- AzureWave AW-NH611 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth, FM Combo Module IC
- 16GB SanDisk SDIN4C2-16G NAND Flash
- ENE Technology KB930QF A1 (clock generator?)
- Texas Instruments TPS65862 power-management IC
- Winbond 25X10BVN1C 1M-bit Serial Flash Memory
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. He was most recently Managing Editor for TechRepublic Pro. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.