As the traditional PC industry races to meet the challenge posed by Apple’s iPad, apparently having your own store is now a checklist feature.In a press event earlier today, Taiwanese PC manufacturer Acer unveiled three upcoming tablets–the dual-screen Iconia, which will run Windows 7 and will be available in February, and a pair of Android devices with 10-inch and 7-inch screens for April.
But the strangest part of the announcement was the plan to integrate a music and apps store called Alive into future Acer products. Acer isn’t licensing the content itself. Rather, content providers will update the store with their own real-time Web feeds, and content will be backed up in the cloud so you don’t lose everything if you misplace your device.
The store will also include apps, some of which will be provided via Intel’s AppUpSM store, which specialises in apps for netbooks, and Adobe’s InMarket, which includes apps built on the company’s’ AIR platform.
Alive will launch in December on Windows 7 only, then move cross-platform some time next year.
I’m not sure why Acer feels like it has to reinvent the wheel here. Apple built iTunes as a source of content for the iPod, and later needed the App Store as a way to distribute apps for the relatively new iPhone platform. But Windows apps aren’t exactly hard to come by, and Android already has its own very popular marketplace. And there are plenty of Web sites that sell music–Acer could just as easily have teamed up with Amazon MP3 rather than building a new front-end and using 7Digital’s catalogue to populate it.