Acer unveils its latest Android handset

Isn’t actually made of liquid metal

ACER HAS ANNOUNCED yet another Android handset and this time it’s a model called Liquid Metal. But sadly it’s got a stainless steel back, rather than one actually made from liquid metal. The overall design is actually quite similar to Acer’s first Android handset, the Liquid 500, although today’s announcement is about a much more refined, slimmer, and better looking handset.

When it comes to Android handsets, Acer is still one of the underdogs, but the company has already proven that it’s willing to get into the fight with both feature rich and affordable handsets. The Liquid Metal is no different, packed to the brim with the latest features, and has a very attractive MSRP. The 3.6-inch 800×480 display might not make it stand out from the crowd. Neither is the 800MHz Qualcomm 7230 SoC the fastest ARM based processor in a smartphone by a long shot, but it does mean that Acer can offer a good compromise between performance and cost.

With 512MB of RAM and ROM, the Liquid Metal should perform pretty much in line with HTC’s Desire Z featuring the same processor and the same amount of RAM. 512MB of ROM might not be overly generous, but the Liquid Metal is at least running Android 2.2 so some apps can run from the micro SD card making this slightly less of an issue than on older Android devices.

What makes the Liquid Metal interesting is that it sports 802.11n Wi-Fi, although we presume this is the 150Mbit version with a 1T1R antenna design. In addition, it supports HSDPA data speeds of up to 14.4Mbit/s which is better than just about any other Android handset out there. Also part of the package are Bluetooth 3.0, GPS, an FM radio, a 5 Megapixel camera with an LED flash, and 720p video recording at 30fps. Acer has added Dolby Surround audio support, and a customizable EQ with dynamic bass boost – a feature that you won’t find on many other Android handsets. Finally, the Liquid Metal offers DLNA and UPnP for streaming video and audio content to compatible players.

Acer added their own custom UI on top of Android; it’s called Breeze. Breeze is meant to give you quicker access to the most used applications, and provide a better overview of what’s going on even when the screen is locked. It’s hard to tell how well this works from the screens on the pictures provided by Acer, but it looks like a fairly clean UI. Acer developed an app called SocialJogger which aggregates the user’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and is meant to give the user a quicker overview of the messages posted. Acer further provides its own USB tethering software called EasyLink, and if this isn’t your cup of tea, then Acer included an option to set the LiquidMetal up to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot, something that’s fairly unique in the market.

The Liquid Metal will be available in either silver (available in early December) or brown (available sometime in mid-November.) In the UK Acer’s MSPR is £299 ($479) for a contract free handset. This is a very competitive price, and a fair bit cheaper than Acer’s own Stream handset. In fact, it’s retailing cheaper than the Liquid E,  which is an Android 2.1 version of the Liquid 500. You can’t really knock it at that kind of price point, especially since it packs a lot of new features. We don’t know when it’ll arrive in other parts of the world, but hopefully it won’t take too long.S|A

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