Acer set to expand presence in thriving hybrid device space

Staff writer, with CNA

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - Page 14

Acer Inc (宏碁), the world’s fourth-largest PC maker, said on Monday that it plans to launch more phone-tablet hybrids, or phablets, to capitalize on the growing popularity of large-screen mobile devices.

“Acer will certainly make handsets with larger screens, but we are still assessing the possibility of launching such models in Taiwan,” Peter Shieh (謝金全), vice president of Acer’s corporate account division, said at the launch of the 5.7-inch Liquid S1 smartphone, which sports a 1.5GHz quad-core processor supplied by MediaTek Inc (聯發科).

Acer is the first Taiwanese brand to use a MediaTek chipset in a smartphone, and Shieh said the company has not yet decided which chipmaker’s solution will be used for its planned 6-inch phablet models.

The phablet — a portmanteau of the words “phone” and “tablet” — is defined by analysts as a smartphone with a display of five inches or larger.

Worldwide shipments of phablets are forecast to reach 60.4 million units this year, up 136 percent from 25.6 million last year, according to data from research firm IHS iSuppli.

Shieh said the Liquid S1 will go on sale next month through Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) for NT$12,900.

The company aims to sell 20,000 units of the smartphone nationwide this year, while its total smartphone shipments for the local market are forecast to reach 100,000 units, he added.

In April, the company said it expects to ship between 1.5 million and 2 million smartphones globally this year, up from between 500,000 and 600,000 units a year earlier.