Acer, MediaTek Partner on Cloud, Wearables, Internet of Things

Acer will use MediaTek's new LinkIt development platform as part of its Build Your Own Cloud initiative.


Acer will leverage chip maker MediaTek's newly announced LinkIt development platform as it builds out its personal cloud initiative.

Top executives of both companies announced the partnership at the Computex 2014 trade show in Taiwan, with each saying the alliance will accelerate the vendors' efforts around cloud computing, wearable devices and the Internet of things (IoT).

The June 4 announcement came a day after MediaTek unveiled LinkIt at the show, and five days after Acer introduced its first wearable device, a smart band called Liquid Leap that monitors a user's health data and works with Acer's new Liquid Jade smartphone.

Acer, which at one time was the world's second-largest PC vendor, is looking to the cloud to help it boost its fortunes, which have been hurt in recent years as global PC sales have slowed amid the rising popularity of tablets. Company officials in December 2013 announced Acer's Build Your Own Cloud (BYOC) initiative, in which consumers and businesses will be able to build clouds on their own PCs, integrating their computers and mobile devices for accessing data, such as music and photos.

That effort also will include building an ecosystem around the BYOC strategy by designing and enhancing its own apps and bringing in partners, as well as offering software and services designed to help consumers build their clouds. MediaTek will now be part of that ecosystem, according to Acer founder and outgoing Chairman Stan Shih.

"Acer will be working with MediaTek on the development of BYOC," Shih said in a statement. "I’m excited about the potential opportunities it brings for our companies in the field of cloud technology and wearable devices, and am looking forward to seeing innovative new applications and technologies that benefit our customers in the BYOC ecosystem."

The BYOC push is part of a larger effort by Acer to reduce its reliance on the PC market, though PCs play a significant role in BYOC, so the company has no plans to exit the space. However, Acer, which has undergone executive turnover and begun a restructuring plan, also is expanding its reach in such markets as smartphones, some of which were on display at Computex.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, CEO Jason Chen—who has been on the job for five months—said diversifying the portfolio will be important in restoring Acer's financial standing.

"We have to expand our product offering from PC to other faster-growing segments, especially smartphones and tablets," Chen told the newspaper. "If you look at the top 20 most valuable enterprises in the world, none of them are pure hardware companies."

The partnership with MediaTek will include leveraging Acer's open development platform and incorporating the MediaTek's chipsets for wearable and IoT devices into the BYOC ecosystem. It also calls for the two vendors to jointly develop new technologies and applications, the companies said.

"We expect wearable devices and the Internet of things market to take off in the coming years and anticipate that MediaTek will be a big part of the growth," MediaTek Chairman and CEO Ming-Kai Tsai said in a statement. "This partnership with Acer will enable us to further fuel the impact that all kinds of devices will have in one's life."

The company's LinkIt platform is based on its small Aster system-on-a-chip (SoC), which was specifically designed for wearable devices.

LinkIt is part of MediaTek's MediaTek Labs developer initiative, which is designed to fuel the development of wearable devices and IoT applications based on LinkIt and the Aster SoC. MediaTek Labs will launch later this year, officials said.