Acer is getting into the increasingly competitive wearable device market with the introduction of the Liquid Leap, a smartwatch product that tracks a user's fitness data and is linked to the vendor's new Liquid Jade smartphone.
The Liquid Leap sports a 1-inch display that not only tracks such data as the number of steps users take, the calories they burn and their sleep cycles, but also can notify users to calls and SMS text messages coming into the Liquid Jade smartphone.
The new Liquid Leap smart band and Liquid Jade smartphone also will play a role in Acer's build your own cloud (BYOC) strategy, where users will be able to build personal clouds on their own devices, integrating their PC and mobile devices for accessing data, such as music and photos. The smartphone will be integrated with other PCs from Acer to enable access to data anytime and anywhere, according to company officials.
The wearable device space is becoming a growing focus for a range of tech vendors, from component makers like Intel and Qualcomm to others like Google and Samsung. Wearable devices will play a large role in the burgeoning Internet of things (IoT) market, and IDC analysts expect the space to grow rapidly in the coming years. They are forecasting shipments of wearable devices in 2014 to triple last year's numbers—to more than 19 million units—and hit 111.9 million units in 2018.
Reports surfaced earlier this year that Acer, which has seen its fortunes fall as the global PC market contracted over the past couple of years, was planning to get into the wearable device space in 2014. Acer, at one point the world's second-largest PC vendor based on the strengths of its netbook business, also has been hobbled by the rise of mobile devices, particularly tablets and smartphones from Apple and vendors leveraging Google's Android operating system.
The company, which has undergone an executive makeover over the past several months that has included the return and subsequent retirement of founder Stan Shih as chairman, is looking to quickly ramp up its BYOC personal cloud initiative. The company on May 29 unveiled its BYOC Experience Center in Taiwan, with company officials saying they plan to aggressively grow the ecosystem around the strategy.
"Based on the Acer Open Platform, BYOC crosses platforms and industries and allies with partners to build new applications for a better quality of life," Shih said in a statement. "We are calling for partners to join the BYOC ecosystem to develop new technologies and apps, and in the spirit of Wangdao, create value for our mutual benefits."
Into this come the Liquid Leap and Liquid Jade—among several devices the company unveiled May 30. The Liquid Leap, along with the fitness monitoring, phone call alerts and text message notification, also enables users to control the music library on their Liquid Jade devices. They come in a range of colors—from Moonstone White and Mineral Black to Aquamarine and Vivid Orange—offer up to seven days of battery life and include Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.
The Liquid Jade smartphone runs Android 4.4, includes a 5-inch high-definition display and offers a 13-megapixel main camera.
The new smartphone and smart band are scheduled to ship in the third quarter.