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Acer promises Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone for €49

'The market's changed in recent months...'

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Cebit 09 Acer unwrapped a quartet of smartphones at Cebit today, doubling its range just weeks after it unveiled its first wave of devices.

The Taiwanese vendor's second set of handsets will all run Windows Mobile 6.5 and offer what it describes as full smartphone functionality, with the mandatory cameras and GPS.

At the top of the range, all of which currently have codenames, is the F1, which Acer smartphone boss Aymar de Lencquesaing said was a “very slick high end device” which includes a 5Mp camera.

But, said de Lencquesaing, the “market has evolved...[and become] more price sensitive”. So, the range will be fleshed out with the L1, a slider with an alphanumeric keypad. de Lencquesaing said it would have all the functionality of the top end device but in a more familiar format.

de Lencquesaing did not discuss pricing for the two top-end devices. However, he was a lot more specific on pricing for the C1 and E1, which the vendor is pitching at the “my first smartphone” market and which de Lencquesaing claimed would offer “smart phone functionality at the same price as a feature phone”.

Customers should be able to get their hands on the C1 and E1 for no more than €49, he said – they will be pitched direct at operators, though he said he expected them to be mainly free. They will, again, be 6.5 based, but in a departure from the oil slick black of the two higher end devices these will be available in multiple colours.

The aim is get users over the hump of upgrading from features phones – the migration rate has slowed down since the middle of last year, as users suddenly find they're no longer masters of the universe and are more likely to be Twittering their outplacement consultant than checking on the latest market moves.

The latest devices should be shipping around the end of the third quarter at the latest, with further devices to come in the fourth quarter.

Acer today staked a further claim on the netbook market, unveiling a revamped 10in screen Aspire One. The latest XP-based Aspire runs on a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 with Mobile Intel 945GSE or 82801GBM chipset. It packs a 160GB hard drive and can suck up to 2GB of memory. All of this weighs in at 1.18Kg.

While conceding that it was a latecomer to the netbook market, the firm claimed it was already the dominant player, taking 43 per cent of the market.

Walter Deppeler, Senior Corporate VP, rejected any suggestion that the netbook market was cannibalising the vendor's existing notebook and desktop business, saying the primary PC these days tended to be a notebook and netbooks were typically being bought as a second or third PC. ® ®

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