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Acer bets on rising tablets, smartphones

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Acer Inc, the world's fourth-biggest computer maker, wants to increase revenue from the tablet and smartphone segments to offset declining income from PCs. 

Acer yesterday launched the Iconia W4 tablet with 8-inch display, Intel processor and Windows 8.1.

Thailand's PC market, comprising desktop PCs and notebooks, is likely to contract by 3% in 2014 from 3.1 million units sold last year, largely due to the prolonged political unrest. In 2013, local PC sales plunged by 20% from the year before.

Notebooks were hit hardest last year as sales plunged to 1.5 million units, down from 2.5 million in 2012, said Nitipat Praweenwongwuthi, senior marketing manager of Acer Thailand.

Acer's local operating unit maintained its No.1 share in the overall PC market (19%) and in notebooks (28%) in the third quarter of 2013, according to the research firm IDC.

To offset falling revenue from notebooks, Acer will increase the marketing budget to promote sales of smartphones and tablets, aiming to boost revenue from the segment to 15% of the total from 5% in 2013.

"Consumers are shifting to smart devices, so computer makers must respond to the change in lifestyle," said Mr Nitipat.

Acer yesterday introduced its Iconia W4, an 8-inch tablet equipped with the latest Intel processor and the Windows 8.1 OS, for 16,900 baht.

Mr Nitipat said the Windows-based tablet market in Thailand will double this year to 300,000 units.

But for now, Android-based tablets dominate, especially products selling in the range of 6,000 to 7,000 baht with 3G support.

As for smartphones, Acer aims to sell 1 million units this year after moving 300,000 in 2013. The local smartphone market is tipped to reach 12-15 million units in 2014 with the migration from 2G to 3G.

Acer recently launched two smartphones, the Liquid Z3s for 2,590 baht and the Liquid Z5 for 4,790 baht.

Combined with a data package from Advanced Info Service, the new models are meant to attract first-time smartphone users.

Sontiya Nujeenseng, the sales and business development director at Intel Microelectronics (Thailand), said local notebook sales will shift to high-performance and professional users in the price range of 16,000-25,000 baht this year, with high-end notebook prices falling by 30%.

Mr Sontiya said smartphones and tablets will eat into low-end notebook sales. The company will spend more to promote Intel processors for smart devices.

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