Review Central speaks to David Drummond, Acer’s Vice President for Middle East and Africa to find out more about the company’s plans for 2014
How has 2013 been for Acer?
It has indeed been an exciting year for PC business. Acer launched a wide range of Windows-based PCs, 2-in-1 tablets, new form factor devices and so on, on the market, which have garnered lots of interest from customers. For this year, Acer plans to launch a new and refreshed range of Android-based smartphones and tablets on the market.
Mobility is an area where Acer wants to be present due to the “mobile revolution” the market has seen in 2013. Just to give you a gist of where the market is going, in 2013 globally, 350 million PCs were sold, compared to 1 billion Android devices sold in the same year.
What technology trends have you seen in Middle East and Africa markets?
Mobility has been a very strong driver across the region. This is because of the huge increases in mobile data usage across the Middle East. In Africa as well, we have seen mobile telephony pick up at a faster rate.
Today, mobility is a driving strategy for companies and this is mainly due to the acceptance of cloud services to some extent. People want to be able to stay connected whenever, wherever. Mobility, coupled with cloud services, offer that advantage.
For the first time, we see small business properly embracing mobility and cloud solutions – sometimes without knowing. People have often told me that they don’t use or trust cloud. But, they have a Gmail account for their email needs. What they don’t realise is that they are in fact using cloud services unknowingly.
Many others are also moving to the cloud knowingly, by using services such as Office 365, Salesforce.com, Dropbox, and so on. Hosted exchange mails, collaboration tools, document editing tools, file sharing services, online backup services, and so on, only offer endless possibilities when it comes to cloud solutions. Data has very much moved to the cloud in 2013 and will continue to, in 2014.
Do you think people are aware of security issues related to mobility and cloud?
When it comes to security concerns, there is a little bit of sensitivity here. There is of course a strong push for security solutions by both vendors and customers. Hence, we invest in developing various technologies, apps, solutions and so on to add more value to what we offer to our customers.
We have launched a solution called AcerCloud. It is a BYOC (Build Your Own Cloud) concept. With AcerCloud, you can build your own cloud to share data with your contact. But at the end of it all, everything you share is on your machine. It’s a simple way of setting up a private cloud solution.
AcerCloud automatically syncs your data across all your computers, mobile phones and tablets, and allows you to share information among all your devices through the AcerCloud. All you need is an Acer ID to access the service, which is free of cost. More information is available at: https://www.cloud.acer.com.
Has the increased uptake of tablets and smartphones had any impact on the PC market?
In terms of sales, we see now that the game revolves around client access. Huge chunk of PC business has now moved to tablets, specifically an area that was previously addressed by simple devices such as netbooks. Netbooks have disappeared completely and that space has been filled by tablets. That is one huge change we have seen, when it comes to the PC business. Smartphones have become the device of choice for many who would like to multitask unlike what PC used to be a couple of years ago.
What are Acer’s plans for 2014?
We continue to evolve our range of Windows-based tablets, 2-in-1 tablet, and so on. We have had particularly good amount of success with surprise form factors such as the R7 machine.
As for the smartphones, we will start pushing into lower price points in order to break into new markets such as Africa. We have the first Intel-based tablet on the market as well. Our next big announcement will center around new Android smartphones.