Acer unveils phone roadmap for 2009

Mobile phones

Acer-L1.jpgAt what appeared to be just to be a closer look at the Acer Tempo range of smartphones we saw at MWC, the notebook giants revealed their mobile phone plans for world domination.

By Q3 2009, you can expect to see handsets such as the H2, L1, C1 and E1 sporting 5-megapixel cameras and all working on Windows Mobile 6.5. It will mean that by the end of the year, the company that sells 33 million computers worldwide will have over 10 mobile phones in the market and all of them smart.

These handsets will have touchscreens, some with alpha numeric keypads and some without and all are aimed at capturing the 80% of the mobile phone consumers out there who do not already use a smartphone.

So far, the phones for Q2 have been priced at between 300-400 euros but it’s really only the likes of the H2 and F1 new models that will be aimed at this upper end of the market and both of these two will focus on quality video playback as well as a good browsing experience.

The other models will sell on their own for as little as 49 euros and are essentially free on contract. Perhaps we’re looking at smartphones for the developing world; the new Nokia.

What I’ve seen so far, though, does not fill me full of confidence. The Tempo range is a little clunky, rather too HTC in their design, the touchscreens that aren’t wonderfully responsive, but their biggest drawback is the burden of Windows Mobile 6.1 without which I’d happily endorse them.

The onboard cameras seem reasonable but only in megapixel rating and the bonus of the LED flash. There seems to be no commitment from the company to make quality optics or processors, and their banking on the stupidity of the mass market. They may be right but I’ve a feeling we might be seeing the end of the “How many megapixels does it have?” question by the end of the year.

Worse still, only the DX900, of their handsets so far, features a 3.5mm jack with perhaps the one chink of light at the end of the tunnel is the promise that they’re considering Android.

On the one hand, it’s hard to have a problem with what Acer is doing. They’re bringing the masses everything they want – good browsing, a decent camera, GPS, music, video and as much connectivity as you could want but look at little closer and you’ll see that these are not handsets for the connoisseur. Not yet, anyway.

Daniel Sung
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