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First Acer smartphone launching in February

Dell may also enter mobile market at MWC

Acer is to launch its first smartphones at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

"Now Acer enters the Smart Handheld market with an exciting range of easy to use devices designed to offer phone capability, simple one hand usability and complete connectivity," according to the company's exhibitor page on the Mobile World Congress website.

The notice suggests that Acer may unveil more than one model and that the phones may use multiple kinds of networks, such as Wi-Fi and mobile.

Acer declined to reveal additional details about the devices, such as what operating system the phones will run and when they'll become available, but said it will disclose that information on February 16.

Acer might not be the only PC maker to soon enter the smartphone market. New rumours of a Dell smartphone have begun popping up again.

Both companies may hope that smartphone sales can help make up for slumping laptop and desktop sales. Recent IDC research showed that while the new netbook category is expected to record significant growth this year, it won't be enough to make up for slow or possibly declining PC sales.

Acer may be encouraged to enter the smartphone market based on its success in netbooks. IDC said that strong netbooks sales helped Acer record a 25.3 percent growth in PC shipments during the fourth quarter last year.

However, entering the mobile phone market is no easy task. The arena has grown increasingly crowded in the past few years with the entrance of Apple and a new Android operating system from Google. Even entrenched vendors like Research In Motion have struggled to keep pace with the fast evolving industry, as evidenced by the poor reception given to the BlackBerry Storm.


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