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MWC 2015 – Acer: ‘Our Smartphones Are Here To Stay’

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Affordable yet powerful mobile devices are crucial going forward for Acer

In an increasingly crowded mobile market, it is easy for manufacturers to slip away and fall out of amid fierce competition from big budget brands such as Apple and Samsung. But what if you are an established brand moving further towards the mobile device market?

TechWeekEurope caught up with Acer at Mobile World Congress 2015 (MWC) in Barcelona last week, and found the Taiwanese company eager to emphasise a move into smartphones, wearables and all in one devices, a step away from its traditional stronghold in the home and business PC space.

But how does a company the size of Acer look to get a grip into such a competitive marketplace?

Pocket-friendly

What Acer is about, says Ronnie Burnett, Acer’s head of smartphone business group in the UK and Ireland, is good value smartphones at affordable prices – essentially ‘getting more for your money’.

“We’re pretty clear where we stand – we are not ever going to be the cheapest, there’s no mileage going there – there’s no way we’re going to compete with the Samsungs, however a lot of our products are really well spec’d for the price.”

acer liquid m220Acer was showing off a wide range of products at MWC – no less than four new smartphones and one wearable.

This includes the company’s first ever Windows Phone 8.1 device, the four inch Liquid M220 (pictured left), which will be able to upgrade to Windows 10 in the future.

The company’s first Windows-powered device for several years (as Burnett notes, Acer’s phone business was originally built up on Windows Phones), the M220 is the result of working closely with Microsoft to create a complete Windows experience on a mobile phone.

Alongside this, the company also unveiled additional devices in its Z series family, with the Z220 and Z520 smartphones boosting its product offerings, with the former being touted as a wallet-friendly ancillary device perfect for holidays or festivals at around £69-79 on release.

Lastly, there was the Liquid Jade Z, the most advanced offering in Acer’s Jade product line, offering a five inch HD display and powerful 64-bit quad-core processor in a device weighing just 120g.

“We’re behind the smartphone business,” Burnett says, “We’ve made that official over the years, and will continue to do so – our CEO, Jason Chen, made that announcement when he assumed the role last year. We really see mobility, and mobile computing per se, as the future of this business – what we’re doing is trying to complement it.”

acer-liquid-leapGet active

As far as wearables were concerned, MWC 2015 saw Acer launch its second generation ‘smart activeband’, the Liquid Leap+ (pictured right), notable for its multi-OS support, meaning it can run iOS, Android and Windows Phone. At just £79, the device, which has a big focus on personalisation via a variety of different coloured bands.

Wearables will continue to be an important sector for Acer, Burnett says, likening the area to the rise of GPS devices a few years ago, in that, as a category, once such devices caught the public imagination, the sector grew very fast.

“(GPS) was one of those categories which was a standalone product that really took control of the public attention, and that’s what we see with wearables,” he added.

acer stand mwc 2015Growth

Overall, Acer is looking to grow several new areas of its business, particularly its smart handheld and wearable technology sector.

This mainly thanks to its differentiation of its devices, Burnett believes, as Acer works with a variety of hardware and software providers.

“We are very clear where we sit,” says Burnett, “we want to grow our business and try to be profitable, by offering affordability. Not everyone can buy a Galaxy S6, but those who can’t still want a good mobile experience, and this is what we can provide.”

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