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Acer Shows Wearable, Cloud-Linked Lineup

NEW YORK — Acer unveiled its entry into the burgeoning wearables category – the Liquid Leap wristband – along with new tablets, notebooks and smartphones during its global press conference, here, last week.

Acer also revealed a new marketing push behind its “Build Your Own Cloud” initiative, which is designed to give Acer laptop, tablet and smartphone purchasers the ability to store all of their content in the Cloud and share it between connected devices.

The Cloud push is one of the new directions the company has chosen to broaden its appeal to Generation Y millennials, which is a key demographic singled out by Jason Chen, Acer’s new CEO and president.

Chen led off the media event by saying he was brought in four months ago to stabilize the company with a 100-day plan under which the company is moving forward with a focus on identifying and capitalizing its key strengths.

Acer, he said, is looking to build new pockets of opportunity in an otherwise stagnating global PC market, and to look for opportunities “beyond PC”.

The company’s two-fold strategy will employ offering a Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) initiative that reframes Acer’s vision for the “Internet of Things” by enabling customers to seamlessly integrate their PC and mobile devices with real-time syncing, and to control and access their own personal devices and data.

Acer devices will ship with BYOC capability built in.

Acer said it will also strengthen its strong hardware presence and accelerate market share growth through a “Connected Devices” strategy. This will include improved end-to-end alignment and a new energy in the smartphone and tablet markets, which Acer called “key pillars” for in its PC market leadership.

On the hardware front, Acer is also building on its successful presence in Chromebooks, with plans for the first Intel Core i3 powered unit.

Unfortunately, none of the G3-enabled products (smartphones, tablets and a convertible) announced in the line have immediate marketing plans for the United States, but the company said it continues to hold discussions with marketing partners for a possible rollout of those lines here at some point in the near future.

Acer also didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing the wristband, its first such product for the company in the wearables category, to the U.S. this year, but had no firm launch dates to offer. In other territories, Acer plans to launch the Liquid Leap wristband as a stand-alone item in the European and Asian markets and then bundle it with some of its newly introduced Liquid J Android smartphones in applicable markets.

The Leap measures 17mm wide and is designed to provide personal health tracking and some data readout. It will be available in limited markets as a bundle with its newest flagship smartphone, the 5-inch Liquid J.

Both the Liquid Leap and J are expected to launch in late July or early August in markets outside the U.S.

The company also unveiled its latest notebook lines, including the Acer Aspire Switch 10, a two-in-one 10-inch Windows 8.1 notebook.

The Switch 10 ($379 suggested retail) features an HD IPS screen, 2GB RAM, 64GB storage with optional 500GB and dual speakers.

It is billed as a notebook and tablet combined in one flexible device with four configuration modes for touch, typing, viewing and sharing. The smart device features a magnetic detachable Acer Snap Hinge design for easy transition between modes, latch-free keyboard docking, and optional additional storage capabilities.

Acer also showed new additions to its E-series notebooks, including the E14 and E15, which offer the option of touchscreen functionality. The 15-inch model comes with up to seven hours of battery life and multi-gesture touchpad.

Pricing on the E14 and E15 notebooks will start at a $299 suggested retail on up, with six color options when they ship in June.

For those who prefer a smaller product, Acer showed the Aspire E11 ($269) with an 11.6-inch screen, also expected for June delivery.

In tablets for the U.S., Acer showed its Iconia One ($129) with HD IPS display, Intel Dual-Core CPU, dual speakers and various color options.

For the European and Asian markets, Acer showed its Iconia Tab 7, a quadcore tablet with voice, HD IPS display, and 3G connectivity.

In Chromebooks, Acer showed a new touchscreen C720, including an Intel Core i3 64-bit, dual-core 1.7 GHz CPU, billed as the “most powerful” Chromebook on the market.

Also shown was a 23-inch touchscreen all-in-one with dual digital microphones and a FullHD forward-facing wide-angle camera, for Skype and similar applications.