There is still so much we don't know about what's under the hood of Acer's upcoming Windows 10-based Liquid Jade Primo smartphone, but after watching the company demo the handset with Continuum at an event in Taipei, a picture -- a vision, really -- is beginning to emerge.
Just after Microsoft's announcement of its new flagship smartphones, the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, and their support for Continuum and associated Display Dock, Acer showed with the Liquid Jade Primo that it shares Microsoft's mobile vision.
The demo the company showed in Taipei is not a final device; Acer won't divulge specs, calling this version an "advanced preview." But from the stage, ST Liew, President of Acer's Smartphone Business Group, showed how the Liquid Jade Primo, running Windows 10 for phones, can be used with Continuum. And it worked well. (Scrub to approximately 16:00 to see the demo.)
With the Liquid Jade Primo connected wirelessly to a monitor, Continuum allowed him to open and navigate a PowerPoint presentation from his phone. The mouse controls shown on the monitor were from his touch input on the Jade Primo. (That's a killer use case for presentations.)
Liew also stated that the Jade Primo can run two apps side-by-side. Liew bragged, for example, that he could display his PowerPoint presentation while also playing a game on the phone without his boss noticing.
The wireless and multitasking features are significantly compelling, but like the new Lumias, the Jade Primo will have docking accessories available.
Liew stated, and you can see behind him during the presentation, that the Jade Primo will ship with a wireless mouse, wireless keyboard and an Acer-branded dock (in which the phone perches vertically). He also said that Acer may ship a monitor along with the handset and accessories, just so users could have a complete experience right out of the box (although it seems he was at least half-joking about the monitor.)
Sharing Microsoft's Vision
Acer appears genuinely excited about this phone. The company is built to bang out devices in volume, with as many permutations of as many platforms and form factors as possible. Its calling card is scale and options. Think of it as the opposite of Apple, which has a limited number of SKUs but obsessively hypes the ones it has. Acer, by contrast, has something for everyone, but rarely does it have a premier, spotlight-worthy product.
In that sense, the Liquid Jade Primo breaks Acer's mold, and that is telling.
If Acer is enthused about this new type of computing, with a smartphone and Windows 10 at the center, then it shares Microsoft's vision, which bodes well for the Redmond-based company.
I suggested in a recent opinion piece that Microsoft's Display Dock, Lumia 950 phones, and Windows 10 and Continuum provide a potentially game-changing paradigm; however, without proper marketing and better carrier availability, Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot somewhat. Having Acer's global marketing power behind this intriguing platform will help.
We'll all have a better-formed view of all of this once Acer nails down some of those important details, such as final specs, pricing and availability.