Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Acer unveils smartphone models

AFP , SINGAPORE

Acer Inc (宏碁) yesterday launched a series of advanced cellphones for the Asia-Pacific region, ramping up its expansion into the wireless communication market.

Company executives said Acer was banking on its experience as a leading computer brand to gain a share of the lucrative market for “smartphones” — feature-packed devices with multimedia functions including Web surfing.

The unveiling of the products in Singapore would be followed by similar launches in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Australia and China, they said.

The launch came two months after the company announced a move into the mobile phone market in February at an industry event in Barcelona.

Best known for its laptops, Acer said its smartphones come equipped with powerful processing and memory capabilities.

“We are facing a very large opportunity here,” said Roger Yuen, Asia-Pacific vice president for Acer’s smart hand-held device business group.

About 200 million smartphones are sold each year and Acer believes the market should grow at 15 percent annually in the next five years.

“Our ambition is to be among the top five smartphone vendors in the world in the next three years,” Yuen said.

Finland’s Nokia leads the market for smartphones, followed by Canada’s Research in Motion, which makes the popular Blackberry, and California-based Apple, which produces the iPhone, industry research firm Gartner has said.

One of the models Acer unveiled yesterday was the DX900, which has a dual SIM card function and comes with a 3.0 megapixel camera.

Another model, the DX650, is designed to be used on both sides, featuring a touch screen panel on one side and a keypad on the reverse. Prices will range between S$599 and S$799 (US$397 to US$530).

In all, five models will be unveiled in the first half of this year.

In the second half, Acer will roll out three more models for the mass market, meaning they will be cheaper but have multi-media functions, the company said.

“One of our goals in Acer is really to introduce smartphones that are more and more affordable,” Yuen said after the launch.

With the price gap narrowing, more people are expected to switch to smartphones, he said.

China and India are likely to drive demand in Asia, Yuen said.

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