Acer finally announced its long-awaited first
Android smartphone, the
Acer Liquid. And beside being Acer's first Android smartphone, it's also the
first Android device which runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon platform as well as
featuring a yet unique WVGA touchscreen at 800x480 pixel. Running on
(aka Donut), the Acer Liquid is powered by a Qualcomm QSD 8250
Snapdragon CPU at 768 MHz
and supports quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE as well as triband UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA at
either 900/1800/2100 MHz (European version) or 850/1900/2100 MHz (North American
version). Also onboard are WiFi b/g, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR as well as aGPS, a
digital compass and a G-sensor as well as a light sensor.
The Acer Liquid, which will be available in white/black, red/black and
black/black, features a refreshing design, somewhat a mix between a smartphone,
a personal navigation device (PND) and a media player. It comes with curves and
seems to stand for a unique design-language, Acer identified for its current
range of smartphones.
Quite unusual and yet unique for an Android smartphone is the lack of a D-pad
or trackball but the Liquid only sports the Android typical home, search,
back and menu keys, which are touch sensitive. This means that the device is mostly used through the touchscreen. However, also available are the smartphone typical volume up/down
rocker, a camera shutter key which also starts the camera application and a
power/stand-by button. Furthermore the device features a mini USB port for
charging and connecting the device to the PC as well as a 3.5 mm stereo headset
plug on the top, where also three LED notification icons can be found. One for
unread messages, one for missed calls and one for the battery status.
At a size of 115x64x12.43 mm, the Liquid weights 135 g only and features a
3.5" WVGA (800x480) capacitive touchscreen. WVGA is yet also new for Android
devices and was just enabled by Google with the
recent introduction of Android 1.6
code-named Donut. The autofucs camera on the back supports 5 megapixels and can
be used for photos and videos. However, even if it is a 3G phone, the device doesn't feature a front-facing camera
for UMTS video telephony.
The Liquid is backed-up by 256 MB SDRAM for user applications and storage and
512 MB FLASH ROM for the Android operating system and embedded applications.
The memory can be expanded by microSD cards.
The removable and replaceable 1,350 mAh Lithium Polymer battery is said to be
good for up to 5 hours talk-time in UMTS mode and up to 6 hours in GSM mode.
As said, the Acer Liquid is running on the recently released Android 1.6
adds great benefits to Android smartphones and therefore to the
Liquid also. And while the device
isn't a so called Google branded Google Experience phone, the end-user will not find a real
difference to Google Experience phones because all Google Mobile services,
including Google Maps, Gmail, Android Market, YouTube as well as Google Talk and
the availability to synch the device against Google's web services, are present!
The only difference to Google branded phones is, that firmware updates won't be
distributed by Google but by Acer.
Also Acer has - more or less - taken the original Android GUI and only
modified it slightly - for instance the dialer or the camera UI - while other
parts like the contacts or calendar are mostly unchanged.
However, Acer added some useful applications in addition to Google's original
set of Android applications. Therefore a user will find Documents To Go
preinstalled, which allows to open and view Office documents as well as RoadSync
(including RoadSync Calendar and RoadSync Mail) which supports Microsoft's
Exchange ActiveSync protocol to provide wireless direct push of E-Mails as well
as synchronization of Microsoft Exchange calendars and contacts. While this
isn't too important for consumers (here's Google offering Gmail and Google
Calendar), Exchange support is highly required for corporate users. Like the
publically RoadSync version, also the Liquid's version features a homescreen
Way more consumer oriented and yet pretty much Acer Liquid exclusive
(Documents To Go and RoadSync can be downloaded from the Android Market anyway)
are the Liquid's Media Server, nemoPlayer, Spinlets and urFooz, which are
preloaded as full versions, not as trial versions only.
If connected to a W-LAN, the Media Server allows to share on the phone stored
music, photos and videos to any connected PC. This means a user can easily show
the latest vacation photos on a friend's PC, without copying the photos to the
And while the Acer Liquid also comes with Google's original, yet pretty
basic, Android music
player, Acer also added another one called nemoPlayer which can handle music,
videos and photos and supports more formats than Google's media player does. It even offers a nicely designed finger- and gesture-friendly user
interface and allows to snap photos and record videos straight from the
application. There's even a homescreen widget available which allows to control
the played music, straight from the homescreen.
Kind of interesting is Spinlets, a free music service which streams selected
music as well as offering access to the artist's official website, YouTube
channel, MySpace and Facebook account.
urFooz a portable profile, so far already available on the Web, that connects
you to your multiple social profiles and accounts. It's designed to be a simple
way to share your content (photos, videos, bookmarks and more) and social
networking profiles all in one place, including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and
YouTube. It's all on Fooz Card, which is much like a baseball card - one side
has your avatar, the other has all your personal stats and social profiles! What
makes urFooz interesting is that it's portable and gets updated dynamically. It
lives on the Acer Liquid as well as in the user's browser as a self-contained
app that you can take anywhere online. A Fooz Card contains a Fooz Avatar which
can customize to reflect your tastes and interests.
In addition to these external services, Acer also enhanced the Android
platform with further social networking services called Acer Share. For instance
is it possible to send captured photos straight from the camera to Facebook and
And also the contacts can be synchronized with either Facebook or Flickr. For
instance will synchronized contacts show the latest status updates in the
While Acer added a good amount of 3rd party applications and self-developed
enhancements, Acer really added these enhancements as careful as possible.
Yes, it looks like that Acer's first Android smartphone could be a winner. It
combines everything a winning smartphone need these days. It comes with a unique
and refreshing design, in three fashionable colors, and it features the latest
and greatest hardware and software. It's definitely a real competitor to the HTC
Hero, which also features a 5 megapixel autofocus camera but sports a HVGA
Android-typical touchscreen only as well as a real competitor to the Samsung
Galaxy which also features a 5 megapixel autofocus camera, even with a flash,
but also only supports Android's 1.5 HVGA screen resolution. These days, VGA or
even WVGA is a must have for smartphones and beside being the Android smartphone
with the biggest touchscreen, the Liquid is also one of the fastest, soon
available Android smartphones, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU.
I had the pleasure to test the Acer Liquid the recent weeks and I was positively
surprised how well an Android smartphone can be used without a D-pad; I haven't
missed it a single minute yet. All together, even if the Liquid I was able to
use, was an early marketing sample, it's very stable and here the customer
definitely benefits from Acer's long-time experience in the PC and Laptop
Also I was impressed by the tools and utilities Acer added. While keeping the
Android flavor, Acer did a good job in enhancing Google's Android platform
wherever necessary. Sure, it's not yet perfect, I would like to see an improved
soft-keyboard as well as a kind of smart-dialing application for faster contacts
access, but the multimedia and social networking integration makes the Acer
Liquid a real fun device, which stays connected to your social networks. Now,
all it needs is a Twitter client/integration also and it would be my perfect
social media phone.
However, Acer also took care that it connects to Microsoft's Exchange
environment. While there's no local sync option to Outlook, thanks to RoadSync,
it easily connect to any Exchange server and therefore provides real-time
push-mail, calendar and contacts synchronization, outside the Google-world.
Altogether Acer really impressed me with its first Android smartphone and it
looks like, the company is on the right track to become a major in the
smartphone-game. It's definitely a worth addition to today's majors, HTC,
Samsung and soon Motorola. The Acer Liquid can be a worth phone for connected
media fans which want to still have as much Android as possible with as much
enhancements as necessary.
The Acer Liquid is expected to be available in the upcoming weeks across
Europe, a price wasn't announced so far.
Cheers ~ Arne