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Acer and Lenovo take the cloud route

Acer and Lenovo, which make Android-based tablets, smartphones and Windows PCs, have outlined their cloud strategies in an effort to catch up with Apple’s cloud integration.

The device makers will offer cloud and hosting services making it easier for people to synchronise and access content and documents across PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Acer will load its devices with AcerCloud, a hosting service on which users can push documents and files that can be shared across its tablets, smartphones and PCs. Lenovo has also recently provided some details about its upcoming cloud service, which will allow content and files on its TVs, tablets, smartphones and PCs to be accessed and shared through private or public clouds.

The companies are following a mobile device blueprint laid down by Apple, which wraps software and services with its successful iPad and iPhone products.

Lenovo and Acer already provide a full range of hardware but lack the full range of applications and services for consumers, said technology industry analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy.

“I expect they will fill in those gaps in the next 18 months through a combination of partnerships and in-house development,” Moorhead said.

Personal cloud services like Apple’s iCloud are also “stickies” that help retain customers when hardware sales are weak, Moorhead said. Building out monetizable personal cloud services are crucial to Lenovo’s and Acer’s future.

“Lenovo and Acer see this and recognise they must ramp up their capabilities,” Moorhead said.

Though desirable, a cloud offering is not an absolute necessity for hardware vendors, especially given the cost and complexity of mounting such an operation and keeping it up and running, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“But with the right plan and investments and, perhaps, partners, it’s possible for a vendor to use cloud services to its long-term advantage,” King said.

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