As Apple Tablet buzz reaches fever pitch, news of an Acer tablet

Apple is expected to unveil its Tablet device this week. Meanwhile, Taiwan-based Acer has announced it will wade into the tablet fray.

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News of the forthcoming – and as-of-yet-unconfirmed – Apple Tablet careened around the Internet this afternoon, days before a Jan. 27 Apple launch event. (Officially, the coy folks over at Apple say the event is being organized around "our latest creation," but it's a foregone conclusion that the "latest creation" is the Apple Tablet.) But according to a new report, Apple isn't the only tech company rolling out a tablet device in 2010.

Bloomberg News and BusinessWeek have both confirmed today that Taiwan-based Acer is readying both a tablet, which would presumably go head-to-head with an Apple device, and an iTunes-like application store. The Acer applications platform will offer “hundreds [of apps], otherwise you can’t call it an apps store,” Jim Wong, president of Acer's IT Products division, told Bloomberg News.

In a separate interview with BusinessWeek, Wong explained that Acer would seek to create a device that mixed aspects of traditional laptops with the tablet format. (The Apple Tablet, for instance, is said to resemble an oversized iPhone.) "I don't think we would like to get rid of the keyboard," says Wong. "People still type faster than they write."

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Wong said that the Acer device will likely be accessible via a touch-screen and a detachable keyboard. "If you need a keyboard, you'll have it. If you don't, you still can have a slate," Wong said.

Rumors of the Apple Tablet have already spurred several companies into action. Among the most prominent is Amazon, the online bookseller, which recently announced it would open the Kindle e-reader up to third-party developers. The move is seen as a preemptive counter to the potential clout of the Apple Tablet.

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