Acer outs Iconia Tab 7 phone-tablet hybrid, upgrades its 7-inch Android slate

Another day, another tablet launch. Just a few months after announcing the 7-inch B1-720 Android tablet at CES, Acer has decided it can do better. The company just announced the Iconia One 7 (aka the B1-730), another 7-incher, this time with a sharper screen (1,280 x 800 resolution, up from 1,024 x 600). Just as important, perhaps, Acer went with a faster Intel Atom Z2560, which should be an improvement over the bargain-basement MediaTek CPU used in the last edition. Not just faster, mind you, but perhaps more energy-efficient, too: Battery life is now rated at a more respectable seven hours, whereas before it could only last five. As for software, Acer says it will ship with Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), but will be upgradeable to Android 4.4 (KitKat). Look for in the US and Canada in May, starting at $130 with 8GB of storage (there will be a 16GB version too).

Meanwhile, speaking of 7-inch slates, the company announced the Iconia Tab 7, a tablet that doubles as a proper phone -- a concept we've seen before. Like the new Iconia One, it rocks a 1,280 x 800 screen on some models (Europe gets the 1,280 x 800 version, while Mexico gets a lower-specced 1,024 x 600 edition). Under the hood, meanwhile, it runs off a quad-core MediaTek CPU, suggesting it won't be quite as robust as the other tablet announced today. The battery life is supposedly shorter too: six hours, versus seven.

If that weren't evidence enough that this is a budget tablet, get a load of the connectivity options: the tablet tops out at 3G speeds, as opposed to LTE. On the plus side, it ships with Android KitKat and Acer says it coated the screen in a special finish that's supposed to reduce fingerprints (we'll see about that). All told, with specs that skew so far toward the lower end, this is mainly a device for emerging markets. Indeed, Acer says the tablet will be available in Latin America, Asia and parts of Europe, but not the US or Canada. If you happen to live in a qualifying country, though, you'll be able to get it for €149 (around $206) or 1,990 Mexican pesos (about $152). Here, too, there will be both 8GB and 16GB models.