NEW YORK—Acer is jumping headfirst into U.S. smartphone market by launching its new $79 Liquid M220 Windows smartphone (pictured) in June, to be followed later in the year by a business-aimed Liquid X2 phone that will feature three SIM slots for global travelers.
The big mobile move by Acer, which will bring the Taiwanese electronics maker into direct competition with Apple, Samsung, LG, Lumia, Google and others in a very crowded market, was announced here on April 23 at Acer's Global Press Conference at 4 World Trade Center.
"We understand that it's a busy market, that it's a crowded market," said Jason Chen, CEO and president of Acer, who joined the company early in 2014. "But we've been pretty consistent and pretty persistent. Globally we doubled our smartphone business again last year after tripling our business the year before. We were pretty happy about that."
With that success still in the minds of company leaders, plans were then hatched to launch several smartphone models in the United States for the first time.
S.T. Liew, president of Acer's smartphone business group, said the company has recently expanded its smartphone sales into 25 more markets around the world, giving it 50 markets where they are sold.
"The whole smartphone business is a challenging and crazy place," said Liew. "We are not going to be everything to everyone in the world. We are going to be very selective" about which markets to enter.
The Liquid M220 smartphone, which is already being sold in 55 countries, will arrive in the U.S. in June, where it will be sold for $79.99 through Microsoft stores and from the Microsoft Website, according to Acer.
The Liquid M220 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 dual-core processor with speeds up to 1.2GHz, a 4-inch 233-pixel-per-inch WVGA (480-by-800) display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard storage that is expandable through a microSD slot and a removable 1,300mAh battery. The M220 provides up to 3 hours of talk time and up to 200 hours in standby on a single charge and also features Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11b/g/n connectivity.
In addition, the phone includes a 5-megapixel auto-focus rear camera with LED flash and an 89-degree wide-angle lens, plus a 2MP fixed-focus front camera.
The M220 is the first in Acer's Liquid smartphone series to run the Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and will be upgradable for free to Windows 10 when it becomes available. The smartphone body has a texture inspired by Thai Silk and is available in Mystic Black or Pure White colors, according to the company. The handset is 4.9 inches long, 2.5 inches wide and 0.38 inches thick and weighs 4.2 ounces.
The Liquid X2 Phone for Business Travelers
While the sub-$80 Liquid M220 phone will certainly attract attention with U.S. consumers due to its features and low price, the upcoming Liquid X2 smartphone will similarly gain the attention of business users.
The Liquid X2, which was only briefly described at the Acer event, is most notable for its three SIM card slots and 4,000mAH battery for long battery life, but pricing and a firm date for availability were not announced.
The Liquid X2 will feature a 5.5-inch display, a 64-bit octa-core processor and a 13MP F1.8 camera, according to Liew.
Acer also unveiled a wide assortment of about 40 new tablets, notebooks, laptops, fitness bands, gaming desktops and laptops, and other devices at the event, including a new Chromebook 15 with a 15.6-inch display, up to 4GB of RAM, and a choice of Intel Core i3, Core i5 or Celeron processors. The new Chromebook 15 starts at $199.99 and will be available in June in models for consumers and for schools.