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How Acer aims to make it big in the PC, smartphone space

Last updated on: May 23, 2011 13:24 IST

How Acer aims to make it big in the PC, smartphone space

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Priyanka Joshi in Mumbai

Acer is eyeing a bigger share of the Indian market with five tablet PCs and five smartphones in its portfolio. The brand enjoys 11.3 per cent and 10.6 per cent share in the PC and notebook segments, respectively.

However, it is too early for W S Mukund, managing director of Acer India, to put a number to how many tablet PCs and smartphones the company will sell in India and he realises that it would not be easy either.

In spite of the odds, the company has done its ground work and is confident.

"Acer will aggressively develop data-consumption products like its Iconia series of tablet PCs and smartphones based on the solid foundation of its main PC business. That's going to be our advantage over players who have little or no presence among the mass-market PC users."

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Photographs: Albert Gea/Reuters
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Mukund says Acer products will be more affordable and easy to use. "The company has developed smartphones and tablets whose content can easily be shared on different screen sizes, which was one of the primary requirements of users, as per our internal feedback."

Enterprise customers, as highlighted by the customer feedback report, expressed a desire for Windows-based tablet PCs while individual users were happy with the Android operating system.

The study results prompted Acer to adopt a dual-OS approach for its tablet PCs - something that no other vendor did. With the Iconia series, the company has launched five devices.

"We are the first in the marketplace to have launched the tablet on the Google Android Honeycomb open platform and on Windows 7, offering the feasibility of choosing between dual operating systems. As our products have been developed on the basis of the feedback from focused group discussions, it gives us a better understanding of consumer needs," says Mukund.

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Image: The Acer Iconia.
Photographs: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
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How Acer aims to make it big in the PC, smartphone space

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To make a mark in the smartphone and tablet PC market, the company has to position its brand aggressively.

For Acer's Iconia tablet PCs, the company has planned a total spend of $1 million.

"We will engage in ATL and BTL activities to capture the consumers' mind. We are also investing a lot in training our channel partners and retailers to address the market appropriately. This will be further strengthened through a six-city road show to enable easy touch and feel and hands-on experience to consumers at large," says S Rajendran, chief marketing officer, Acer India.

Analysts expect worldwide tablet PC sales to reach 40-50 million units in 2011, with the Apple iPad dominating the market. Research firm IDC has said tablet shipments could grow by an average 57.4 per cent each year in 2010-2014.

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Photographs: Beck Diefenbach/Reuters
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Samsung and Apple, the biggest players in the tablet PC market, have the first-mover advantage in the market. Estimated to touch a million units by the end of 2011, tablet PC market is at a nascent stage.

Yet, when Apple hurried up the launch of iPad 2 and Samsung announced the launch of two more tablet PC models, it only reiterated how critical the Indian market was for global brands.

Ranjit Yadav, country head, Samsung Mobile and IT, Samsung India says: "We will launch the 10-inch tablet PC at aound Rs 35,000 and the 8-inch device will be priced around Rs 28,000. Even though the tablet PC market today stands at around 25,000 units a quarter, we expect it to grow exponentially here on."

Samsung has also deployed a team of 3,000-odd engineers across its two R&D facilities in India customising its smartphones, tablet PCs, fine-tuning apps with developers to make itself appealing to the user.

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Photographs: Reuters
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Taiwan-based Acer is, however, taking one step at a time. Rajendra says: "In Q1, we targeted cities in the three primary markets - Bangalore, Mumbai and Ahmedabad. We internally categorised the counters under S+, S and A and had Acer personnel branding and point of sales collaterals and demo units at specific outlets as part of our branding activity."

In the coming quarters, Acer hopes to expand to five more cities, focusing on increasing its presence in Delhi, Surat, Chennai, Coimbatore and Pune.

The company has also strategically built its retailer network along with a network of IT specialty stores to strengthen its distribution for smartphones and tablet PCs.

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Photographs: Nicky Loh/Reuters
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Acer, says Mukund, has attached utmost importance to get the right partners for both sales and support functions for its tablet PCs and smartphone products.

"In a business like ours, we have decided to engage both the traditional IT channel and smartphone channel partners to address the market for our new tablet devices," says Rajendran.

Acer currently has 275 Acer Malls (exclusive retail outlets) and touch points and is in talks with a few major telecom operators who are expected to play an active role in bundling 3G services with the device.

"We see an immense potential in the education sector and will ensure that we train our partners to address the relevant market," underlines Mukund.

 


Photographs: Nicky Loh/Reuters
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