“We’re still a startup” says Acer’s smartphone VP


Manufacturer aiming to build on tier-two operator partnerships this year and will review its distribution strategy 

Acer is seeking partnerships with tier-two operators such as MVNOs as part of an increased focus on the UK market.

The manufacturer has partnerships with Tesco, Dixons and ASDA – the last being announced at Mobile World Congress. It said it will add several to this list by the end of 2014.

EMEA vice president of smartphones Allen Burnes (pictured) also said Acer is in discussions with tier-one operators EE, Vodafone and O2 about partnerships. These will not conclude until 2016, however.

Acer devices are currently only stocked by Three. Burnes said this is because operators tend to be “risk averse” and are not willing to offer devices from companies such as Acer, which considers itself a “startup”.

This year will also see Acer review its distribution strategy – but Burnes declined to provide details on current partnerships or future deals.

“At the moment we are a classic startup, but we have the assets to change this. This year we will build on tier-two operators. Also in 2014, we will review our distribution strategy,” he said.

“In the UK, more than distribution, the issue for us is to find partners that we can drive our devices through. We now have a line-up of products that are of interest to partners.”

Acer is set to launch five more smartphones in 2014, and an unspecified number of wearable devices.

Acer seeks Window of opportunity

Acer is in discussions with Microsoft about making Windows Phone devices.

The manufacturer currently relies on the Android operating system, having not seen great success with its Acer Allegro handset, released in 2011 and running Windows 7.5.

EMEA vice president of smartphones Allen Burnes said the latest WP operating system is “powerful” in terms of its appeal to both consumers and enterprises, and he thinks it will exceed industry expectations.

However, he said Acer will only be able to produce devices running WP if Microsoft increases marketing activities.

“We are in conversation with Microsoft about manufacturing Windows Phone devices.

“With Android, we have seen Google’s roadmap and we know it is going to get cleaned up but at the moment it is not clean.

“Windows Phone is a strong OS. But it faces an issue that is not associated with its design. That is a lack of marketing. As a handset manufacturer I have to drive my brand.

“If you look at that OS, it is a utilisation of avatars on Xbox – so it is very powerful for consumers; security-wise it is very powerful, enterprise-wise it is very powerful.

“IDC says market share will be 10 per cent in 2017 but I think it will be more than that.”