The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Acer will release a $99 tablet in the new year. Designed to compete with off-brand Chinese products in developing countries, the Iconia B1 tablet is said to have similar specs to the low-end Kindle Fire: a 7-inch 1024 x 600 screen and a 1.2Ghz dual-core processor. However, it's not clear whether Acer plans to sell the product in the US. Images of the B1 leaked on a Serbian forum last week, and the Journal's sources confirmed their authenticity.

Asus says it has no $99 tablet plans

Asus, meanwhile, told the Journal that the company had no plans for a similar product, though the Journal's Acer source says the B1 was designed to compete with one from its Taiwanese stablemate. There has been much speculation of late that Google may be interested in producing a $99 Nexus tablet, and Asus would seem like an obvious fit following its success with the $199 Nexus 7.

On the other hand, It's not a surprise to see Acer pushing for a price breakthrough on tablets; it was the first company to announce a product under Nvidia's Kai program for inexpensive Tegra 3-based Android tablets, the Iconia Tab A110, although it eventually missed the expected $199 price target. The Journal also reports that Acer will launch a less expensive Windows 8 tablet in the new year, since its current efforts are "too pricey."