Acer launches Android smartphones in Australia

Acer launches five Android smartphones, but doesn't partner with a telco

Acer's Liquid E Ferrari Special Edition is one of five new Android-powered smartphones launched by the Taiwanese manufacturer.

Acer's Liquid E Ferrari Special Edition is one of five new Android-powered smartphones launched by the Taiwanese manufacturer.

Acer today unveiled its range of Google Android-powered smartphones in the Australian market, but has not partnered with any carriers for the local launch.

The Taiwanese manufacturer, better known for its notebook PCs, launched five new smartphones that are all powered by Google's Android operating system.

The Acer beTouch E120 ($399) and E130 ($499), Liquid E ($699), Liquid E Ferrari Special Edition ($999), and the entertainment-oriented Stream ($799) will be available this month, but only for outright purchase.

Acer Australia's general manager for product group, Nigel Gore, said negotiations with telcos are ongoing, but when pressed for a timeframe revealed "nothing until the first part of next year [2011]." The Acer smartphones will be distributed by Ingram Micro and will eventually be sold through major retailers.

The range includes the "budget orientated" beTouch E120 and E130 phones. The E130 features a physical QWERTY keyboard and a trackball similar to older BlackBerry smartphones, as well as a resistive touchscreen.

Acer's premium model in the new range is the Stream smartphone, which boasts HD video recording, a 3.7in AMOLED display, Dolby mobile sound and an HDMI-out port, while a Ferrari Special Edition of the Liquid E smartphone features glossy red casing with chrome trim, a Scuderia Ferrari shield with carbon fibre details on the rear, and a user interface customised with Ferrari content.

The beTouch E120 and E130 units both run the older 1.6 version of Google's Android OS, while the Liquid E, Liquid E Ferrari and the Stream all run the 2.1 "Éclair" versions. Acer claims the smartphones will be upgradeable to Android 2.2, dubbed "Froyo," sometime in 2011.

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