Is the smartphone market too congested for Acer?

Acer has announced its plans to enter the smartphone market.

Another day, another smartphone. Acer, maker of the ultra-affordable Aspire One ZG5 (Linux), has announced its plans to enter the smartphone market at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on February 16.

Not much is known about the Acer smartphone. There haven't been any spy shots or "accidentally" leaked pictures. But the description of Acer's contribution on the MWC website may shed light on what to expect: "Now Acer enters the Smart Handheld market with an exciting range of easy-to-use devices designed to offer phone capability, simple one-hand usability, and complete connectivity."

The word "range" and "devices" leads me to believe multiple phones will be introduced. "Simple one hand usability" makes me think thumb-centric touch screens.

A few websites are already speculating on what OS the Acer smartphone will run. The Boy Genius Report is fairly certain it will run Windows Mobile, yet says Google's Android is behind the curtain, due to Acer's part in the Open Handset Alliance.

But here's a question: Are we ready for yet another smartphone? The market is becoming congested with devices. Everybody is excited for Palm's resurgence with the Pre, and add to the playing field the buzz that Dell, too, is entering the smartphone market, and you have a complicated cluster of handhelds waging war in tight quarters. Apple securing its multitouch patent also narrows the playing field in terms of UI options.

A big concern about this kind of competition is how quality suffers when devices are pumped out quick and nasty, filled with glitches and bugs. February 16 is coming awfully soon, and for this to be the first big announcement, Acer seems to be on treacherous ground.

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
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