Acer isn't known for its smartphones in the U.S., mainly because its smartphone lineup hasn't been available here. That changed today, as the company unveiled the Acer Liquid M220, an $80 Windows Phone that we first saw at Mobile World Congress.
The 4-inch (480 x 800, 233 ppi) display is backed by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 SoC (1.2 GHz). Unlike the version Acer showed at MWC, this M220 has 1 GB RAM and 8 GB of internal storage (as opposed to 512 MB and 4 GB). The rear 5MP camera offers LED flash and an 89-degree wide-angle lens, while the front camera is a fixed 2MP camera. The replaceable 1300 mAh battery purports to offer three hours of talk time.
There's a microSD slot on board for expandable storage, and connectivity options include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 EDR.
The inexpensive device runs Windows 8.1, which is notable because Windows Phones haven't sold particularly well in the states, and it's somewhat curious that Acer would try to crack open the U.S. smartphone market with a device running an unpopular platform. On the other hand, why not? Throwing out yet another low-end Android device would just be noise at this point.
Thus, this is a bit of a gamble for Acer, but it's a calculated one. It also fits with Microsoft's low-end global smartphone strategy, although we're a bit surprised to see that the emerging market plan Microsoft told us about at Mobile World Congress is already landing in the U.S.
Microsoft announced its own $70 Lumia 430 recently, so it appears we have a trend. It's also noteworthy that the Lumia 430 and the Acer Liquid M220 have strikingly similar specs. Behold:
|Acer Liquid M220||Lumia 430|
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 (1.2 GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 (1.2 GHz)|
|Display||4-inch (480 x 800), 233 ppi||4-inch (480 x 800), 235 ppi|
|RAM||1 GB||1 GB|
|Storage||8 GB (w/ microSD)||8 GB (w/ microSD)|
|Camera||5MP rear, 2MP front||2MP rear, 0.3MP front|
|Battery||1300 mAh, replaceable||1500 mAh, replaceable|
The biggest difference is in the cameras. The Lumia 430 is also a dual-SIM device. Both are primed for the Windows 10 upgrade.
The Liquid M220 arrives in June and will cost $79.99. Now that it has its first U.S.-available smartphone revealed (even though it's a low-end Windows phone), it's possible that Acer will start rolling out the rest of its smartphone lineup here soon.