Thu, Oct 18, 2012 - Page 13 News List

Acer plans Atom-powered smartphone

INTEL INSIDE:An Acer vice president said there was a chance of a new phone, running Intel chips, by the end of this year as smartphones become major consumer devices

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Acer Inc (宏碁) yesterday said there was a likelihood it would launch a new smartphone powered by Intel Corp’s Atom chip by the end of this year, in a sign of renewed cooperation.

The remarks came after the world’s No. 4 PC brand suddenly scrubbed a secretly arranged press conference last month to unveil the “Intel inside” mobile phone with local telecoms operator Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), a reliable source said. Acer did not confirm.

It would make Acer the third company in the world after China’s top brand Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc to offer smartphones outfitted with Intel chips as the companies, which made their name in the PC world, share the same ambition of expanding into smartphones to offset the stabilizing growth of the PC market.

“I think there is the chance [of seeing that happen],” Peter Shieh (謝金全), a vice president of Acer’s corporate account business division, told reporters when asked if the company planned to launch a new smartphone running Intel chips by the end of this year.

Shieh declined to provide more details.

Smartphones running Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 8 operating system are already in the pipeline for sale sometime next year, Shieh said.

This year, all six models launched by Acer run the Android system, supported by Google Inc, Shieh said.

Next year, Acer plans to introduce about six new phones and aims to double unit sales to 200,000 in the home market, from 100,000 units this year, Shieh said.

That would be a small portion of Acer’s bigger plan to sell 2 million cellular phones around the globe — as it forecast earlier this year.

“The trend is very clear, that the smartphone is becoming a major device for people to process data on the go,” Shieh said.

Global smartphone shipments are expected to expand to 567 million units this year and reach more than 1 billion in 2016, compared with less than 500 million units last year, according to market researcher NPD DisplaySearch’s tallies released last month.

Acer yesterday launched three new smartphones, including one upscale model code-named CloudMobile S500 that features a personal cloud service for users to temporarily save and share their pictures and data via a remote server.

The CloudMobile S500 went on sale in Europe last month in collaboration with telecoms operator Orange, as well in Australia, Thailand and some other Southeast Asian countries, Acer said.

The firm is also in talks with Chinese telecoms operators to sell the phone in China as well, Shieh said.

Shieh also said the company was diversifying its phone suppliers for various reasons, including supply chain issues, cost efficiency and developing better products for local users.

Acer has added a new Chinese handset company to its existing partners, Taiwan’s Qisda Corp (佳世達) and Compal Communications Inc (華寶), Shieh said.

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