Industry sources presumably in the know say that Acer, who is still developing Windows Mobile-based smartphones, has decided to shift its attention to the Android platform. The sources say that half, if not more, of Acer's new handsets launched in 2010 will be built around the open-source OS.
This won't have much effect on Acer's production partners, the sources added, saying the company will continue to outsource both Windows Mobile and Android smartphones to Compal Communications and Inventec Appliances.
Not wasting any time, Acer is expected to release its first Android-based smartphone, the A1, sometime next month. According to pre-order info at eXpansys (France and Germany), the A1 will sport a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, Qualcomm 8250 processor clocked at 768MHz, an internal GPS antenna, a 5MP color camera with auto-focus, and a 1350mAh battery.
Nvidia's Ion platform has gotten off to somewhat of a slow start, but that's starting to change thanks to Acer, Lenovo, and Zotac, all of which have recently launched Ion-based mobos and nettops.
Relative newcomer Zotac (founded in 2006) just launched its Ion-based ITX-F motherboard series for use in nettops. And in a nod to the power of customer feedback, the company's new 'F' series also sports a PCI-E x16 expansion slot.
"Zotac always listens to user requests for features. End users loved our Ion ITX series motherboards, but some requested PCI Express expansion. We listened and thus the Zotac Ion ITX F series was born," said Carsten Berger, marketing director, Zotac International. "Our engineers managed to integrate PCI Express x16 expansion without sacrificing any of the award-winning features either."
Acer, meanwhile, recently released its AspireRevo AR1600-U910H nettop with an Intel Atom 230 processor (1.6GHz) and Nvidia Ion LE graphics, and it streets for under $200.
Finally, Lenovo has jumped on the Ion bandwagon with the launch of its IdeaCentre Q110 nettop here in the States. Priced twice as much as Acer's cut-down model, Lenovo's version comes with the same Aton N230 processor, but uses the regular Nvida Ion graphics chip.
Most gamers wouldn't think twice about buying an all-in-one PC, but that's okay, because all-in-ones are selling just fine without them. According to a previous report in China's Commercial Times, global all-in-one PC shipments are expected to reach 6.5 million units by the end of the year, accounting for 9 percent of all PCs.
Now it's looking like that number may have been a little conservative. Citing un-named industry sources, news and rumor site DigiTimes says Quanta Computer has received roughly 2 million all-in-one PC orders from Fujitsu, Acer, and MSI and will start shipping products soon, ending the year with a bang. Most of those will measure 20 to 23 inches.
HP, another client of Quanta and maker of the popular TouchSmart series, will also receive more all-in-one shipments starting in October.
Although, earlier this year, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology mandated that the vaguely named “Green Dam Youth Escort” web filtering software be bundled with all new PCs, including the imported ones, it later postponed the July 1 deadline before eventually scrapping its edict last month.
However, it is still mandatory for those administrating public use computers to have Green Dam Youth Escort installed on such machines. But one unnamed Chinese high school is said to have flouted the government’s order by deleting the software from its computers. It is not often that China offers obeisance to outside pressure.
Sales of PCs were up in the second quarter of 2009, according to market analytics firm, iSupply. Global shipments were up 1% over the first quarter to 67.2 million units. This is the first increase in six months. It’s not all roses though; sales were still down 4.3% from Q2 of last year. However, going into the end of the year, sales are expected to stay strong in part due to the October release of Windows 7. The likely advertising blitz will get PCs in many mainstream media outlets.
In this past quarter, HP managed to hold the top sales spot for the twelfth quarter in a row. HP’s sales were up 2% over last quarter, leaving it with a 20% market share. "HP is not only maintaining its leadership position but is also gaining market share due to its robust notebook business, which has outgrown the overall notebook segment for the past two quarters," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for iSuppli. Dell and Acer continued to fight it out for the number two spot.
Consumers aren't the only ones anxiously awaiting the release of Windows 7; OEMs are planning ahead as well. Anticipating a sharp rise in demand, HP has an ordered about 3.3 million notebooks from Taiwan's top-four ODMs last month, representing an increase of 15 percent on month. In September, that number number is expected to climb even higher and settle on 3.5 million units, industry sources say.
Meanwhile, Acer also anticipates a flurry of sales once Windows 7 is made available starting October 22, 2009. Those same sources indicate Acer has a real shot at becoming the leader in the notebook market this fall, with shipments possibly topping 3.6 million units. This also includes ultra-thin notebooks and netbooks, two areas Acer has been particularly popular in.
If Acer manages to ship nine million notebooks in the third quarter, it will have closed the gap with HP to only 200,000 units.
Acer's overhauled Aspire Revo 3600 nettop picks up where its predecessor left off. Like the original Aspire Revo, the new 3600 model supports HD video courtesy of Nvidia's Ion platform, but the latest iteration trades in the comparatively anemic single-core 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor for a 1.6GHz dual-core Atom 330.
Right off the bat, doubling up on cores will come as a boon to anyone, um, aspiring to do more than basic tasks with the Aspire Revo. Other specs include 4GB of DDR2-533 memory, an HDMI port, and VESA mount compatibility.
The global economic downturn hasn’t been nice to anyone, tech sector included. According to a recent report Acer has reduced their 14 and 15-inch ultra-thin notebook orders due to low market demand.
Wistron, an OEM that often makes large orders for the two notebook models, is now only producing 200,000 units per month, down from the projected 600,000 units. It’s expected that the drop in production will hurt Wistron’s notebook shipments in August. It also noted that the sky is blue.
Acer appears to be weathering the global economic downturn just fine, thanks in no small part to its mobile PC business. Last December, the OEM became the new netbook top dog, supplanting Asus for the No. 1 spot in units shipped despite carrying a single netbook model versus Asus' bazillion Eee PCs, and the future looks just as bright.
Citing "market watchers," news and rumor site says Acer is on track to ship somewhere between 8-9 million notebooks. That number is all encompassing and includes both netbooks and ultra-thin models in addition to standard laptops.
The sources attribute the large number of shipments to rebounding demand in Europe, which helped Acer record about 2.5-2.7 million units shipped in July alone.
According to some recent reports, Acer was able to ship out 6.65 million netbooks during the second quarter of this year, raising their share in the global netbook market up to 18.5 percent, compared to 17 percent in the first quarter.
HP was able to hold onto their number one spot amongst netbook vendors, with 8 million shipments during Q2 of this year, giving them a 22 percent market share. Acer, however is in second place, followed by Dell, who maintains a share of 13.2 percent.
The total shipments were 36 million units during Q2, up from the 34.1 million shipped in Q1.