Acer takes on smartphone market

By , IDG News Service |  Personal Tech, Acer, smartphone

Acer has jumped head first into the smartphone market with its Tempo family of devices. They are all touch-enabled and based on Windows Mobile, the company announced on Monday.

The Tempo family is to a large extent the result of Acer buying Taiwanese smartphone maker E-Ten last year. Developing its new smartphones wouldn't have been possible without the R&D know-how it got via that deal, according to Aymar de Lencquesaing, the head of Acer's Smart Handheld Business Group.

The first set of devices will be based on the existing version of Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system. Included is, for example, the M900, which comes equipped with a QWERTY keyboard, a 3.8-inch screen, and a fingerprint scanner for authentication. It also has HSDPA (High-Speed Download Packet Access) support, built-in GPS (Global Positioning System), and a 5-megapixel camera.

For users who aren't fond of QWERTY keyboards there is the F900, which also comes with 3.8-inch screen. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera, and you also get faster uploads using HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access) and support for Wi-Fi.

Both phones will start shipping at the end of March or the beginning of April, according to Acer. Pricing will be announced at the time of launch.

The company is also working on a second set of smartphones that will be based on Windows Mobile 6.5, which was also announced on Monday, and come out by the end of the year.

De Lencquesaing also dropped hints about Acer working on smartphones based other operating systems than Windows Mobile, including Android, but didn't provide any details.

Acer's goal is to become one of the top five smart phone vendors, which means it would at least have to displace Sharp from the fifth spot and sell about 1.3 million units per quarter, according to third quarter sales statistics from Gartner.

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