I’ve been checking out the Acer Liquid Android handset — Acer’s first Android device. I’ve been looking forward to actually getting hands-on with the device because I’m excited to see what manufacturers make of the platform. Initial impressions are good. I like what they’ve done with the device.
Just to be clear, the Liquid is a mid-market handset. A few months after launch and you can pick one up for a fairly reasonable £280 sim-free if you shop around. Carphone Warehouse will, for example, give you a Liquid free on a £25/month T-Mobile contract (24 months).
So with the target market in mind, I won’t be comparing it to the likes of the Nexus One. It’s a workhorse handset that I think will be appreciated by anyone who’s been stuck on a feature phone for the last five years. The fact that you’ve got all Google’s glorious services accessible by a touch of the button is nothing short of wonderful — compared to the laborious click-click-click send-receive nonsense of yesteryear’s feature phones.
Google’s Android really does let the manufacturer sit back and relax. Oh, Acer have done their own set of customisations as Android manufacturers are wont to do — but they’ve not gone overboard. I don’t think they need to. Instead, Google steps in. Setting up the device is a total doddle, especially if you’ve already got a Google account. It’s nothing short of miraculous. And from then on, the basic stuff just works. That’s the magnificence of Android.
There are problems with Android. Significant problems — but from the end consumer viewpoint, the fact you can get your email, IM and related services (Google Maps, for example) easily and without friction will be good news. Acer have turned out a decent device. I’d be quite delighted to put this into the hands of my wife, my brother, my mother — although perhaps the Android UI isn’t quite ready for her (she’s very comfortable using the iPhone).
But for any feature phone refugee, the Acer will be a revelation. Reasonable price, good features, capable 5 megapixel camera and all the services we’ve come to expect with any Android device (e.g. integrated GPS, speakerphone, expandable SD card, WiFi, Quad band, HSDPA). I like that things such as this come as standard. You don’t have to think.
The phone is only 135g in weight. Of course, that’s because it’s encased in plastic which — well — it’s not got the Nexus One metal sheen. But it’s also not got the Nexus price tag either.
I’m going to do a a video of the phone shortly and I’ll be using over the next week or so and let you know how I get on with it.
Here’s a little series of photos I took of the box and phone with the Photo Booth Classic Plus iPhone app earlier:
(iTunes link for the app)