The Acer Predator 8 Tablet is Coming

Finally some more tablet news! With the deluge of smartphones that get released, it’s tough at times to feed the need I have with the Dark Android Project: Tablets!

And what we have here is a pretty exciting new entry in a lot of ways, even though it comes from a company that is generally not all that exciting: Acer. Back when I used to 9-5 in the tech sector, we had a running joke whenever an Acer unit would come in. As soon as we saw the unit, we’d run towards it and hold onto it like we were getting sucked into a mini black hole…because…well…Acer’s sucked. Hard. So we’d emulate it sucking us in like a black hole. Get it? Okay, stop laughing now.

Regardless of what my co-workers and I thought about Acer at the time (this would be the later 2000’s), they were the largest computer provider in Europe even then. That counts for something. In fact, today it could be argued that they are single-handedly responsible for the “Chromebook Revolution” that has been going on the past couple years with their low-cost chromebooks (and that I predicted on my science and tech podcast: Sovryn Tech). Not too shabby on their part.

Recently it looks like they’ve been trying to take their low-cost evolution to the gaming realm. Their recent Nitro Viper series of gaming laptops has received praise (and some jeers), and now they’re heading into an even more niche market: Android gaming tablets.

While the Dark Android Project isn’t solely concerned with gaming–it’s more of an afterthought–it certainly is something I talk about and it is easily achieved without the Google Play Store (thank you, Humble Bundle). But hey, gaming tablet or non-gaming tablet, it’s a tablet and so it deserves my inspection for Dark Android.

Acer’s entry into this market is called the “Predator 8”, and like I said, it is being billed specifically as a tablet for gamers (of which I consider myself among their number).

predator8It’s a pretty mean looking machine, and according to the specs, it’s pretty thin and light. One of the aesthetic points I like about the Predator 8 is that a good chunk of its body is is made of brushed aluminum, which is a rarity at the Predator 8’s price point of $299 USD.

But what kind of specs are you getting for that budget-friendly price? Well, as the name suggests, it has an 8″ screen, but with a resolution of 1920×1200 (which is a good thing for battery life, in my opinion, compared to the more popular QHD). 64GB of onboard storage, as well as having a microSD card slot is standard, and really should be the bare minimum if you are creating a “gaming device” (even mobile games take up a lot of space these days). It’s unclear how much RAM the Predator 8 has, admittedly. It does have an impressive FOUR front-facing speakers creating a virtual surround environment called Predator Quadio (which I look forward to seeing how this sounds, as I think “quadrophonic” was the greatest sound technology ever invented, and that technology was created decades ago). There are some other unique features on this tablet, including a highly improved touchscreen (supposedly), and dual haptic feedback motors. It also comes with Android 5.1 out of the box.

The most important feature, of course, is the use of an Intel processor (the quad-core Intel x7, to be exact). Intel processors–as I say often on the Dark Androind Blog–allow for a lot of options as far as what operating system you’d like to run, as compared to run-of-the-mill ARM or Tegra processors. You don’t even have to use Android or an Android-derivative. Choice is freedom, and is the first step in having anything remotely capable of achieving Dark Android principles. Also, with Acer’s Predator 8 being niche, it’s a good bet that it will create a hardcore community around it that will foster development of things like CyanogenMod or other freeing developments.

So before I go further, I want to say that while we won’t know until after its release on November 6th, 2015…it’s appears so far that the Predator 8 will fit in nicely with the Dark Android Project and eventually allow for a DAPS setup.

But there have been some critiques of this device already (since it’s development has been known about since April 2015), and I’d like to address those. The main critique has been its “look”. Personally, I think it looks badass. I like the name. I even like calling the sound technology Predator Quadrio. It’s all way over the top. Perhaps even cheesy. And I think that’s a good thing. When companies try to push the design notion of “extreme” to the point of being garish, I love it. Push the limits on design. Don’t create another slab. That’s the only way we ever get to new levels of “cool” in design, in my opinion. And besides, it reminds me of the 80’s and 90’s when “extreme” was synonymous with “creativity” because the economic stability of the day allowed for such creativity. So I dig it. It even looks futuristic, which is harder and harder to achieve today. I’m glad Acer went nuts with the design on the Predator 8. And use ridiculous, campy names for new technologies. It’s inspiring to hear them, whether they really mean anything or not. Really, people that complain about this sort of thing are unimaginative dolts.

Anyway, I think the Acer Predator 8 looks good, and has the potential to be fully Dark Android compatible. And even if it isn’t, it’ll be great just to have for some portable gaming (paired with a controller, of course). Gaming is a good thing. And…damn…do I love that design.

Carpe lucem!