ACER VOWS TO REPEAT ITS PC TRICK WITH LOWER-COST SMARTPHONESBy Robin Kwong in Taipei 2009-06-17
Acer, the world's third-biggest PC maker, vowed yesterday to be among the top five smartphone vendors in three to five years as it made its first foray into the fast-growing segment.
The Taiwanese computer maker launched four smartphones for the Taiwan market and promised a further six by the end of the year.
Acer's move into smartphones reflects the continued convergence between the computing and communications industries, and the fact that computer makers are looking for sources of growth amid a PC market battered by the economic downturn.
Few phone makers are switching to computer manufacture, but several of Acer's rivals, such as the smaller Asus, are developing smartphones, which accounted for 12 per cent of mobile sales in the fourth quarter of last year, according to research firm Gartner.
The market is dominated by Nokia, which has a 41 per cent share, followed by BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion, Apple, HTC and Samsung.
Aymar de Lencquesaing, president of Acer's smart handheld unit, said smartphones represented a “very big opportunity” for the computer maker, which expects to have a 6-7 per cent market share and to ship 20m smartphones annually by 2012.
Acer appears prepared to undercut its rivals to reach that goal, as it did in the stiffly competitive PC market. The four models Acer is selling in Taiwan range between T$15,000 and T$20,000 (US$455-$607) compared with T$20,000-T$25,000 for HTC's smartphones and about T$26,000 for Apple iPhones.