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Acer Group, the world’s third largest personal computer supplier, plans to enter the market of smartphones in Q1 2009, according to the company. The PC maker believes that smartphone business will enable the company’s further dynamic growth in the course of the next three to five years.

Acer plans to enter the smartphone business with own-bran model sometime in the first quarter of 2009 initially targeting Western European and Russian markets. According to a news-story at DigiTimes web-site, Acer is currently negotiating with telecom companies and retailers about distribution of its smartphones. If the discussions do not lead to favourable terms for Acer or its partners, the large-scale entry of the company to the new markets may only occur in the second half of 2009.

Specifications of the smartphone have not been revealed.

Smartphone sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region increased 14% year-on-year in Q3, 2008, according to Gartner market tracking company. The region saw Nokia’s share decline nearly 8% in the third quarter of 2008 but still maintaining its leading position and saw Apple gain the No. 2 spot with 15.6 % share, moving in front of HTC and RIM. That said, it may make sense for Acer to try entering the market, even though it may be tough for a new player to gain massive popularity without a huge advertising campaign aiming consumers, something which Apple had to deploy to get to the No. 2 spot in EMEA.

It will not be easy for Acer to get a significant market share with its smartphones in the USA too as the majority of telecom operators in the country prefer to sell own-brand devices, while Acer is not a contract maker of phones, but a company interested in popularizing its trademark on various markets.

Acer reportedly intends to increase headcount in its smartphone division to 500 employees including 200 transferred from E-Ten Information System’s (a company Acer took over earlier this year) research and development division.

Tags: Acer

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