No, it’s not quite the dawn of MWC 2015 yet, but already companies are launching products to the press before the showroom floors open for all.
Acer is the first company to show its hand, releasing a gaggle of new smartphones running on Android and Windows. Perhaps the two most interesting are the Liquid Jade Z and the “Windows 10 ready” Liquid M220.
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The Liquid Jade Z is billed as a mid-ranger, but really is a sleek-looker with a circular speaker at it’s rear (which should go nicely alongside 24-bit audio support), and a large 5.0-inch IPS screen slathered in Gorilla Glass 3.
It’s only 7.9mm thick too, which makes it only slightly fatter than Samsung’s lightweight A-line. The Liquid Jade Z tips the scales at 110g.
For those interested in the more substantial specs, there’s a 64-bit capable MediaTek MT6732 quad-core SoC, with a 2300mAh battery, a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP up front, as the selfie trend continues.
While this might not sound like much, the phone is priced very aggressively in Europe at 199 Euro (around US$220 in the States, or R2700 in South Africa).
The Liquid M220 meanwhile, won’t exactly set your heart aflutter, but it’s Acer’s first stab at a Windows 10 phone once Microsoft makes the OS available later in the year. It currently runs Windows Phone 8.1, sports a 4.0-inch screen and a dual-core CPU. Nothing really inspiring there then.
There’s also 512MB of RAM, a 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, 4GB of internal storage and dual SIM support. All this is powered by a 1300mAh battery. So the device is decidedly entry level, but the “Windows 10 ready” moniker is undoubtedly its real drawing power.
The phone will also set buyers back just 79 Euros, or around R1400 in South Africa, should the device make its way to its shores in the future.
What’s more interesting though is Acer’s latest fitness band, cross-compatible with Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
The Liquid Leap+ (rather fitting name, really) is a fitness tracker that sports a 1.0-inch touchscreen, has interchangeable bands and looks a lot like Microsoft’s Band. It does however focus on “user flexibility”, as Acer eloquently notes in the presser.
It becomes a fitness companion by tracking the user’s steps, running distance and calories burned. The activeband core module is a 24/7 wearable thanks to its waterproof certification (rated IPX7). Music control functions such as “play”, “pause”, “previous”, and “next song” make it easy to adapt to the tune of your choice, while notifications never let one miss an important email, calendar event or SMS
The battery is touted to last around five days too, which makes it a useful little companion.
It’s nothing monumentally new, but it does suggest that even Acer — once a PC/laptop only company — is forced to diversify.
To keep up with all the happenings in Barcelona for the next week, check out our MWC 2015 portal for a more comprehensive look at the summit, and be sure to follow our live blog for details as they happen.