Acer upping mobile ante with smartphones, MIDs

Acer plans to keep the pedal down on its mobile ambitions this year--a noteworthy position in light of larger rival Hewlett-Packard's $1.2 billion acquisition of smartphoner Palm (NASDAQ: PALM).

Taiwan's Acer, which just reported a jump in first-quarter profit, said it will release four new smartphones later this year. The company also said it will launch a line of mobile Internet devices by the end of May. The computer maker, which entered the smartphone market last year and has since expanded its mobile ambitions, plans to launch a new version of its Shell user interface on the new MIDs, according to Acer CEO Gianfranco Lanci. He said the MIDs will all have 3G wireless connectivity and will be able to interact together and share data.

Lanci said in February that the company aims to more than triple smartphone sales, from 3 million this year to more than 10 million in 2011. The Acer chief also said at the time that the company had sold 500,000 handsets since it got into the mobile phone business. The company released the Android-powered Liquid in Asian and European markets, but has yet to secure any deals with U.S. carriers.

HP's purchase of Palm yesterday is yet another indication that traditional computer makers are jonesing for smartphones. AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) is launching Dell's Android phone, the Aero, later this year, and China's Lenovo recently released an Android phone in its home market.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this IDG News Service article

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