Acer’s Liquid Android Phone to Debut With Donut

Acer today unveiled details of its first Android-powered handset as the Taiwan-based hardware vendor jumps into the explosive smartphone market.

After months of speculation, Acer confirmed in early June that it would introduce an Android handset this year. Now today, the computer manufacturer has formally unwrapped some details of the Acer Liquid.

Though pricing, release and carrier details have not yet been disclosed, there’s plenty of information on the hardware and software.

The Liquid is the first Android smartphone to use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor, according to Acer, and has a Wide VGA touchscreen, HSPA connectivity, support for 3D graphics and a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, geotagging, ISO and a self-timer.

It will run Android 1.6, dubbed Donut, the latest version of Google’s open source mobile platform.

Acer is also promising a new user interface with “easy access to entertainment and Web bookmarks,” it said, along with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa and Flickr integration in the address book. The integration will support real-time updates.

There’s also a new app called Spinlets that provides free streaming of music and video that can be shared through posting online or via e-mail.

An Acer spokeswoman declined to provide any further details.

News of Acer’s Liquid come at a time when smartphone sales continue climbing.

In the second quarter, 40 million smartphone sales worldwide, a 27 percent gain from the same period last year that shows high-end handsets are sustaining the ability to outperform regular phones in the mobile market, according to research firm Gartner.

The news also comes as the latest sign of industry support for Android, as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and its partners in the open source mobile OS continue refining the software, most recently with the version 1.6 Donut update.

New features in Android 1.6 include support for wider screen displays, an integrated camera and a camcorder and gallery interface. The new software also makes it easier to conduct searches directly from the home screen. Donut also coincides with a makeover of the Android Marketplace, the online store for Android apps.

In just a bit more than a year, Android will soon be offered on three of the top four carriers in the U.S. and on smartphones made by HTC, Motorola and Samsung. If reports of a Dell Android handset on AT&T also come to pass, Android phones will be on all four major U.S. networks by early next year.

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