By Patrick Avenell
SYDNEY, NSW: Acer’s new range of Android smartphones will be sold in Australia through a curiously unique retail strategy. Unlike most handset suppliers, which partner with a telco to sell their products, Acer has no carrier support and will only be selling their range outright.
There are five new handsets in Acer’s smartphone range, with form factors including full QWERTY keyboard, nearly full touch and track ball with touch. Aside from Acer’s new limited edition Ferrari model, the range closely resembles previously released models, such as the HTC Desire and the BlackBerry Bold.
What sets these handsets apart, however, is the way consumers get their hands on them. Whereas Acer’s major competitors are aligned with telcos (some exclusively, some with all), Acer has no carrier partner at launch, and will be selling this new range outright. The RRPs are not prohibitive, quite the opposite, but the inability of consumers to purchase these phones for $0 on a plan may be a hurdle in their uptake.
At the launch earlier this week, Acer did not publicly announce their retail strategy. After Current.com.au enquired directly as to how they would be sold, we received the following response:
"The Acer smartphone will be available through an exclusive distribution arrangement by Ingram Micro and major retailers. The retailers who have already signed up the smartphone category before our launch date include BigBrownBox.com.au, Harvey Norman and The Good Guys," read the statement.
The five new models in the range are the beTouch 120, the beTouch 130, the Liquid E, the Liquid E Ferrari and the Stream. All of these models run off the Android operating system, though it is worth noting that the two beTouch models are using Android 1.6, whilst Android 2.1 is on the other three models.
All models have a 3.5-millimetre headphone jack for media playback, whilst the camera image capture is 3.2 megapixels for the beTouch models and 5 megapixels for the other models. The Stream also features 720p HD video recording.
These smartphones are available now for the following RRPs:
beTouch E120 – $399
beTouch E130 – $499
Liquid E – $699
Stream – $799
Ferrari Liquid E – $999