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Acer plans low-cost smartphones for niche markets

2013/04/25 15:04:06

Taipei, April 25 (CNA) Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said Thursday that it plans to unveil new smartphones priced below NT$5,000 (US$169) this year to cash in on the growing popularity of mobile devices for entry-level customers.

S.T. Liew, president of Acer's smartphone business group, said the low-cost models are expected to go on sale in the second half of 2013 in Southeast Asia and Europe, which are seen as the key niche markets for Acer to revamp its mobile business.

"The fact that they are entry-level phones does not mean that they will have poor design or function. Even our lowest-priced models will feature advanced audio technology from DTS Inc.," Liew said.

"I think customers in the markets that we are planning to enter will appreciate these features," he told a news briefing with DTS, which licenses audio applications to mobile devices manufactured by Acer, Asustek Computer Inc. and HTC Corp.

Acer plans to launch six or seven new smartphones in 2013, more than the four models it sold last year, Liew said. The company aims to sell 1.5 million to 2 million smartphones this year, up from 600,000 to 700,000 units year-on-year, he added.

The strategy of making low-cost phones came after successful sales of the Acer Iconia B1 tablet -- which costs less than US$150 -- as the company's latest foray into the affordable tablet market.

The 7-inch Iconia B1, featuring a 1.2GHz dual-core microprocessor from MediaTek Inc., is expected to account for 15 to 20 percent of Acer's full-year tablet shipments, as long as there are no shortages of key components such as touchscreens, Acer said.

The company added that it will launch tablets with 8-inch and 10-inch screens by the third quarter of this year, which are likely to start from about NT$6,000 and NT$7,000, respectively.

(By Jeffrey Wu)