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The world’s No. 3 supplier of personal computers – Acer Group – plans to become a significant player on the market of smartphones on the next few years, the company said at a recent briefing. Provided that Acer is successful with its smartphones, the move will further strengthen positions of the company in general and may open the door for further convergence between PCs and handsets.

Aymar de Lencquesaing, president of Acer's smart handheld business unit, said that the company expects to have a 6% - 7% share on the market of smartphones and to ship 20 million units annually by 2012, reports Financial Times. The prediction is quite bold to say at least as with 7% of the market Acer will have to leave behind such companies like HTC (own brand only), Fujitsu, Sony Ericsson and so on.

Acer entered the smartphones business earlier this year with four models powered by Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system and plans to expand its range with other devices by the end of the year. At least one of the company’s smartphones due in 2009 will be based by Google Android environment.

In Q1 2009 the market of smartphones was dominated by Nokia (41.2%), Research in Motion (19.9%), Apple (10%), HTC (5.4%) and Fujitsu (3.8%) with total available market reaching 36.4 million of units, reports Gartner market research firm. By contrast, the market of all mobile phones totalled 269.1 million devices. But while worldwide mobile phone sales dropped 8.6% from Q1 2009, smartphone sales increased 12.7% annually.

It is interesting to note that Asustek Computer, one of the main rivals of Acer, also develops smartphones and yet another manufacturer of computers and components from Taiwan – Gigabyte Technology – does the same. Perhaps, in the future these three companies will be able to further converge their notebooks and smartphones in terms of design, functionality or just bundle both into one package.

According to Mr. Lencquesaing, only about 300 million of the world’s 4 billion mobile phone users are using smartphones now. But Acer believes that sooner or later cell phones will transform into smartphones.

“It’s not at all a question of whether they will shift, it’s a question of when,” said president of Acer's smart handheld business unit.

Tags: Acer

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