Why Is It That Acer, Who Have Hot Products, Lack Brand Clout?
Acer, is a leading PC technology Company who has been pumping out PC’s and technology devices for 40 years, so why is it that the Taiwanese Companies products are not getting the exposure they deserve in the PC market.
At an event in New York this week, the Company showed off some seriously impressive PC technology along with a few other odds and sods that are at the cutting edge of where technology is going.
#1 in Chromebooks and #2 globally in 2 in one notebooks the Company is seriously pushing boundaries using new materials liquid cooled PC’s and its first bike computer with integrated camera, GPS tracking as well as Virtual Reality capable gaming machines, along with new smartphones and a new fitness-oriented wrist band.
So why is it that Acer is not seen as a must have brand, one that has pedigree along with the products that are seriously pushing boundaries.
The answer is marketing and brand communication according to Andrew Hou, Pan Asia Pacific Vice President.
“We need to change our approach to marketing, we need to invest more into social media and digital marketing, we need to target a younger audience” he said.
In markets like the USA, Australia and several European markets Acer is the #1 supplier of PC’s to education departments.
Millions of children around the world are using Acer technology something that Hou is looking to take advantage of as teenagers migrate to Universities and the workforce.
In Australia Acer recently appointed Text 100 the former PR Company to arch rival Lenovo.
They are also looking to invest in new digital marketing initatives in partnership with retailers, schools and B2B businesses.
At their New York event attended by ChannelNews, Acer revealed new strategies, they said that they will build its core computing business with new product that include its first VR-ready gaming computers and products that compete more aggressively with Microsoft’s Surface detachable two-in-one and Apple ND Lenovo’s ultra-thin notebooks, the company said.
CEO Jason Chen revealed what is next for Acer and outlined where he thinks the industry is heading at the World Trade Centre event.
Now the commercial side accounts for 40 per cent of the business, which Acer hopes to keep increasing with the launch of their Chromebook 14 For Work. It claims that the Chromebook was designed to military-grade standards for durability.
During the conference Chen briefly touched on the difficult few years the company has had.
The Taiwanese vendor saw its revenue decrease 20 per cent year on year in 2015, and this year announced it will be splitting the company into two divisions.
The ‘core business group’ will focus on laptops, desktop computers, tablets and research and development, while the ‘new business team’ will focus on smartphones, wearables and its ‘bring your own cloud’ service. The split is expected to happen in the second half of 2016.
He said: “Ever since the beginning we have had a vision to make sure we break down the barrier between technology and people. I joined Acer two-and-a-half years ago and I remember the first time we came to New York, the main topic we were talking about was turning around the company.
“Nowadays the discussion is about a post-smartphone era. The company we want to transform into will be in an area we call ‘bring your own cloud’. This is based on a vertical business model of intelligent, connected devices.”
This ‘bring your own cloud’ model includes Acer’s new biking computer, which it claims is the first biking computer to include a camera.
The company’s new line-up also includes what Acer called the industry’s first accessory package that incorporates a dock, keyboard and mouse to turn a Windows 10 smartphone into a personal computer using the Windows 10 Continuum feature. The package will be bundled with the previously announced Liquid Jade Primo, an unlocked Windows 10 phone.
The introductions are part of the company’s plans to grow its core computing business while entering new markets that bring computing to new applications, corporate Chen said.
Hou said that Acer has to rethink their Corporate brand marketing to the extent that there is now the possibility that Acer Australia could soon be working directly with Acer USA and Acer Europe to develop new “Western market” digital marketing initatives. These campaigns would be distinctly different from marketing initatives developed for Asian markets.
The Taiwanese Company firmly believes that the combination of expanded marketing and their new products could drive sales.
At this week’s event I witnessed first some of the world’s most ardent PC critics praise the new Acer range, journalists from leading US and European publications said that the new Acer product range was “as good if not better” than those of their competitors.
“Their weakness is marketing especially brand marketing”.
A Gartner analyst said that Acer was a brand that could compete at the top end of the market.
“What has happened is that they have chased volume and retailers have seen them as a budget value brand as opposed to a premium brand. Their currently marketing reflects this”
“Lenovo and Microsoft are the two leading premium brands followed by Dell and HP, Acer have premium products but not the brand clout to support the superiority of their technology”, they said.
This week’s launch marked the company’s 40th anniversary among the new products launched was a new range of Predator gaming computers: The company last year broadened its assortment of gaming desktops, laptops and monitors computers with the launch of the Predator series, and this year it’s stepping up performance with its first VR-ready desktop model and first VR-ready laptop.
Both models are said to be the first computers that work with VR headsets from the four major VR vendors: Oculus, HTC, OSVR and StarVR.
The Predator G1 desktop, due Australia in the second half of the year July, it is tipped to sell for around $3,900, is smaller but more powerful than the current G6 desktop Predator, adding sixth-gen Intel Core processors and full-size Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics processor. It supports 4K displays, up to 4TB hard drive, up to 512GB solid-state drive and up to 64GB DDR4 memory.
The Predator 17X notebook looks similar to the current 17 but adds overclocking, Nvidia GTX 90 desktop-grade GPU, and a new cooling system with one fan in front to pull in air and two fans in back to such out air.
Also new to the Predator lineup is an expanded series of curved monitors, available in 31.5, 30- and 27 inches, they are set to start at $699. “Our gaming line is deeper than anyone’s,” Chen said.
Surface-like detachable: The company continues to offer notebook-type detachable but will now go head-to-head with Microsoft’s Surface detachable, which is more tablet-like and features a thinner keyboard than clamshell-type detachable notebooks.
The Switch Alpha 12 takes Acer into the premium detachable market with what Chen said will be the world’s first fan-less detachable with sixth-gen Intel Core processors. It uses a liquid-cooling system to keep the device thin without the risk of overheating.
It will also be Acer’s first detachable with a kickstand, also available on the Microsoft Surface.
The Alpha 12 comes with Windows 10, included keyboard, 12-inch 2,160 by 1,440 touch display, and 0.62-inch depth. Core i3 to Core i7 processors are options along with 4GB or 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM and 128GB, 256GB or 512GB solid-state drive.
It is tipped to sell in Australia for $899.
Acer’s Aspire S 13 notebook is 0.57-inches thick and also starts at $899.
Ultra-thin notebook: The Aspire S 13, which is 0.57 inches thick, is targeted at Apple’s ultra-thin notebooks but with a starting price of sub $900, or about half the price of comparable products, the company said. It will also be one of the thinnest notebooks in its class, the company added.
Key features of the Windows 10 notebook include 13.3-inch 1080p IPS display, touchscreen option, aluminium chassis, sixth-gen Intel Core processors, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, 13-hour battery life, up to 8GB LPDDR3 memory and USB 3.1 Type C.
Bicycle computer: Acer bought bike-computer maker Xplova six months ago and is bringing out the first bike computer with embedded camera to take videos of a trip.
The Xplova X5, due in the third quarter at an unspecified price, features built-in 3G cellular to deliver real-time bike-trip broadcasts to followers. Built-in GPS lets riders follow bike trails. The device can be set to automatically record video when a wireless-connected heart-rate monitor hits a certain level, the bike hits the crest of a mountain, or pre-set speed is achieved.
Chen called the product an example of the “build-your-own Cloud” strategy that the company is pursuing.
The strategy extends to the GrandPad LTE tablet developed by GrandPad, a company in which Acer recently invested.
This is a product that has huge potential in Australia.
The GrandPad is targeted to people 75 years of age and older, in Australia this could be lowered to 65.
It is designed to appeal to people who have difficulty coping with technology products.
It allows for video chats, email, and picture sharing with family members whose smartphones run a companion app.
The Company is looking to launch this device in Australia.