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Acer to launch Windows Phone 8 smartphone in 2013

Six devices planned, based on Qualcomm and MediaTek chips

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Acer has confirmed to The Reg that it plans to launch six new handsets next year including a Windows Phone 8 device.

Company president Jim Wong told Taiwanese tech title Digitimes that the six new models would be aimed to appeal to all segments of the market in Europe, south-east Asia and China.

The handsets will be Android-based, with the exception of the one Windows Phone 8 model. An entry-level model will feature chips from Taiwanese giant MediaTek while the higher end designs will score dual-core CPUs from Qualcomm.

Acer’s smartphones will be made mainly by ODMs Qisda and Compal in 2013, the report said.

In Europe, Acer will be looking to sell through existing sales channels and strike new deals with carriers, while in Asia it’s looking specifically at Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and India – some of the key growth markets in the region.

When it comes to the world’s biggest smartphone market, China, Acer said that it would be targeting entry and mid-level sales, but would steer clear of the ultra low price segment.

Whilst it’s probably wise not to get involved at the very bottom end of the Chinese smartphone market, Acer will still face stiff competition in the entry and mid-level, especially from home-grown rivals such as ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo.

The firm obviously thinks there’s enough room for everyone, and with 42 million devices shipped into the channel in China in Q2 – around 27 per cent of the global figure – it could have a point.

However, its brand is more commonly associated with laptops and tablets, despite the launch of the high-end CloudMobile S500 smartphone in Europe recently, following hot on the heels of the Liquid Galant and Liquid Glow.

Gartner analyst Tracy Tsai wouldn’t say whether she thought Acer’s gamble in the smartphone space is likely to pay off, but told The Reg the expansion of this part of its business was to be expected.

“The content, application, user interface and usage model is getting unified across different devices,” she said.

“It is inevitable for device vendors to expand their product portfolio in response to this market trend. This is the way they can provide consumers with an overall unified user experience.” ®

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