Acer Smartphone Could Fulfill VARs' Wish

Acer is set to announce the launch of its first smartphone at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain next month. Acer has been about the most committed channel vendor there is, so could this event finally scatch the channel's long-time itch for a smartphone to sell?

Eventually, but my guess is not for a good while. So far, VARs have been relegated to the back door in smartphone sales, although they play a much larger role in selling wireless notebooks specially equipped to access wireless carriers' voice and data networks, a great solution for an increasingly mobile workforce. However, hot smartphones like Apple's iPhone and Google's GPhone have been sold mainly through the wireless service providers themselves or retail giants like Best Buy.

Acer could easily change all that. In fact, a focused channel sales effort, especially with an unlocked phone, could provide Acer a real opportunity to differentiate itself from a fleet of smartphone competitors. It would provide Acer with an immediate sales force, and one that could leverage a smartphone sale with other Acer products.

 However, it's not clear yet precisely what Acer is introducing, when it will be released in the U.S., or what the sales strategy is. (A copy of the press invitation is included in this report. ) All that is clear is that the vendor seems poised to capitalize on last year's acquisition of mobile phone maker E-Ten.

Here's hoping Acer decides to cut the channel in on a piece of the action.

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