Next batch of Acer smartphones due out in September

The F1, L1 and C1 will all run Microsoft Windows Mobile software

Acer plans to send its three latest smartphones to market in September, with two of the new handsets priced for the recession.

The three smartphones will all use Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system and carry Acer's own user interface, which the company views as a cornerstone of its smartphone strategy.

The F1 is a thin handset dominated by a 3.8-inch touchscreen designed for Internet browsing, while the L1 is a slider-style smartphone, with a 3.0-inch touchscreen and a numerical keypad that slides out from the bottom of the handset.

The third handset, the C1, is similar to the L1 but has a slightly larger 3.2-inch touchscreen and no slide-out keypad.

The C1 and L1 are both attempts by Acer to attract feature-phone users to smartphones, according to Aymar de Lencquesaing, president of Acer's Smart Handheld Business Group.

"In this economic crisis, the replacement rate of feature phones has slowed down," he said during a press conference in Taipei on Tuesday.

The C1 and L1 will be inexpensive smartphones with similar features to conventional mobile phones but with touchscreens.

The C1 will cost US$40-$50, or even lower when paired with a contract with a mobile service operator, while the L1 will be slightly more expensive due to the slide-out numeric keypad. Pricing for the F1 was not immediately available.

The C1 will also be sold in two versions, one for 3G (third-generation mobile telecommunications) networks and the other made for EDGE (Enhanced Data Rate for GSM Evolution), de Lencquesaing said.

The F1 will use chipsets from Qualcomm, works with 3G and HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) download technology and carries a 5-megapixel digital camera on board.

The other two handsets will also have built-in digital cameras but exact details were not immediately available.

Acer's first smartphones, including the DX650, X960, M900 and F900 went on sale globally this year, though they weren't released in Ausralia.

The F1, C1 and L1 are the company's second round of offerings and an Australian release hasn't been confirmed.

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Dan Nystedt

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