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What's in a name?

Acer has second identity crisis

In its second name change in less than a year, Acer Communications and Multimedia (Acer CM) has been rechristened Benq, which apparently stands for "bringing enjoyment 'n quality".

The new identity takes over from Acer CM, which in turn replaced Acer Peripherals in January 2001. The aim, says the company, is to build up the brand so that it occupies the same high profile as other familiar names in the business like Samsung and Sony, though we are not sure Benq has quite the same ring to it.

In an announcement made last week in Suzhou, China, the Acer Group chairman, Stan Shih, said that Benq would be split off from its parent company, leaving Acer to focus on its PC and notebook business, plus developing a greater role as an e-service provider, while Benq would concentrate on supplying so-called "digital life" devices.

These devices range from home cinema systems, to digital cameras and projectors, although we in Europe will only see a fraction of this product line. Benq president K Y Lee, said that currently the company will be testing new product lines in Asia, and only if they fare well there will they be brought over to Europe.

For example, it has a new 3.34Mp (megapixel) digital camera and range of mobile phones, none of which will see the light of day over here although we will see some more of its familiar products such as scanners and CD-RW drives. The first Benq-branded products are due for release in Europe on 1 March 2002.

Benq hopes to blur the line between business and leisure products, focusing instead on delivering "real enjoyment to customers" whether they are working, studying, or at leisure.

The company also aims to cash in on the broadband and wireless revolutions, by developing new product lines for that promised Elysium, the digital lifestyle, although it was unclear what these devices would be.


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