Opinion

Acing with smartphones

RWME: Acer has just unveiled its range of smartphones in the Middle East market. What’s Acer’s main motivation behind this move to enter the smartphone market?

MD: Until recently, Acer’s mobile strategy has concentrated on providing mobile solutions (notebooks) that were generally used for Web content generation rather than to consume Web content. With the launch of netbooks in 2008, this changed as the small form factor of netbooks allowed content to be generated and consumed using the same device.
With the advent of mobility on the go and smartphones being an instant hit, this phenomenon has been taken to new levels as more people access and consume content on Websites using their smartphones.
We are entering the smartphone market with a view to complete our mobile strategy by offering customers a wide option to choose from (notebooks, netbooks and smartphones). Although Notebooks and netbooks are used to consume Web content, primarily these device are best suited to generate Web content, while smartphones have a special role in that the small form factor makes these devices the convenience to offer a platform to consume Web content.
In addition to this, having a smartphone offering fits into our broader multiple brand strategy of offering the market a broader choice of products to choose from.
 
RWME: How are you going to approach the Middle East market given the stiff competition Acer faces from established smartphone brands such as Blackberry, iPhone and Nokia?
 
MD: With the interest that the smartphone market has generated especially among PC vendors, there is no doubt that the next growth in mobile solutions will come from smartphone. We are not entering the smartphone market to be on a collision course with established brands but rather fulfil a market gap that fits into our mobile strategy. We know that this market cannot be fulfilled by one brand or manufacturer of mobile phones.
We will leverage off our existing partnerships with telco providers in the region and offer product bundles with our smartphone portfolio like we have successful done in the past with our notebook and netbook arrays.
We believe that it creates an opportunity both for telco providers in the region as well as our channel partners to become involved with selling some of these products and services on behalf of telco providers.
Currently we have an 80% penetration of our mobile products through the telco channel which mainly provides product bundles to end-users. We see this increasing in the coming year as research suggests that the Middle East is poised for mobile growth, a lot of which will be propelled by the smartphone handset Currently we have an 80% penetration of our mobile products through the telco channel which mainly provides product bundles to end-users. We see this increasing in the coming year as research suggests that the Middle East is poised for mobile growth, a lot of which will be propelled by the smartphone handset Currently we have an 80% penetration of our mobile products through the telco channel which mainly provides product bundles to end-users. We see this increasing in the coming year as research suggests that the Middle East is poised for mobile growth, a lot of which will be propelled by the smartphone handset market.
 
RWME: What would you say is your strength with your newly released Acer Liquid, neoTouch and beTouch portfolio of smartphones?
 
MD: I believe that in order to make quality products that are admired in the market, a manufacturer has to invest in research and development (R&D). In our case at Acer, R&D is a valuable aspect in the production of new products. We were fortunate in that through our acquisition of Eten in 2008 we inherited a competent team on engineers that are part of our R&D group. As a result, we have been able to bring to market smartphone handsets that run both Windows Mobile and Android operating systems.
 
RWME: Where do you see the smartphone market in the next two years?
 
MD: Aside from what I alluded to earlier, Acer has branched into the smartphone market because current research and analysts data suggests that this market will far outpace the combined notebook and netbook markets. Secondly, we have been watching the growth trends of cellphones in general but particularly the Internet enable handsets are set to boom as the cost of connecting to the Internet using smartphone devices continues to come down. This and increased competition in the smartphone market will ultimately benefit the end-user. The smartphone market is the next be wave of mobile computing.

Looking to diversify its mobile solutions offerings, PC powerhouse Acer has introduced a new range of smartphones. RWME?s Manda Banda chats to Massimo D?Angelo, VP SHBG Global Sales & VP Telco Business EMEA at Acer on how the vendor plans to compete in this market sector.

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