Acer’s Google Android Phone Sales Beat Expectations

Acer Inc., the world’s No. 2 computer vendor, said stronger-than-expected sales of its Google Inc. Android phone, named Liquid, have led to shortages of the device.

“Liquid is doing much better than our expectation,” Gianfranco Lanci, president of the Taipei-based company, said in an interview yesterday. “This is why we’re a little bit short of supply.”

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The Liquid touch-screen handset, unveiled in October, competes against models from HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Inc. in the market for phones using the free Android platform. Acer expects its smartphone sales, including those using Microsoft Corp.’s Windows system, to total between 2 million and 3 million units this year, Lanci said.

Acer expects to ship at least 250,000 Liquid handsets by the end of this quarter, compared with initial expectations for 150,000 to 200,000, Lanci said. Smartphones will account for 10 percent of Acer’s revenue in about three years, one year later than initial company predictions because of last year’s global economic slump, the executive said.

“It’s a very competitive market and depends a lot on feedback from customers,” said Angela Hsiang, who rates the company “outperform” at KGI Securities Co. in Taipei. “If you launch a product and it’s successful, that’s very positive in helping marketing for the future.”

Acer shares lost 2.3 percent to NT$84.80 as of 11:40 a.m. in Taipei today, taking its decline this year to 11.8 percent compared with a 12.4 percent slide in the benchmark Taiex index.

Liquid is manufactured by Taipei-based Compal Communications Inc. while Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. will make a second Android handset for Acer this quarter, Jim Wong, president of Acer’s IT Products division, said Jan. 22.

Technical problems and slow consumer acceptance of Android led to Taoyuan, Taiwan-based HTC posting a 5 percent drop in revenue last year, its first annual sales decline. HTC, maker of Google’s Nexus One handset, shipped 11.7 million smartphones in 2009, it said in a Jan. 26 statement.

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