Acer buys smartphone maker E-Ten

Third-largest PC maker lays down a pile of money for the Taiwanese handheld manufacturer.

Continuing its spending spree, Acer announced Monday it plans to acquire E-Ten for $290 million.

Based in Taiwan, E-Ten has been around for more than two decades, and part of its business includes manufacturing Pocket PC phones and PDAs for other companies. But it's probably known best to consumers by its Glofiish consumer brand name, established less than two years ago.

Glofiish
Acer buys Glofiish maker E-Ten Glofiish

With this purchase, Acer, also based in Taiwan, appears laser-focused on becoming a major mobile player. Thanks to its acquisitions of both Gateway and Packard Bell , it's already taken out Dell as the second-largest manufacturer of notebooks . Now it appears ready to jump into the handheld computing fray.

"The acquisition of E-Ten increases Acer's global footprint by giving us a strong and highly credible presence in the mobility segment," J.T. Wang, CEO of Acer, said in a statement.

It's interesting that Acer has apparently been in the market for a mobile phone company and bypassed Motorola, which was, even if only temporarily , up for grabs . Instead, it went for a relative unknown (outside of China), that is likely far cheaper but, more importantly, one that specifically makes smartphones, rather than flip phones and their ilk.

Acer apparently sees value in the smartphone trend. Regarding the announcement, Acer President Gianfranco Lanci added, "The worldwide smartphone market is estimated to grow by more than 30 percent by 2011. Acer will enhance the competitiveness in the ultramobile segment, by combining PC and communication technologies."

Smartphones are increasingly becoming tinier versions of laptops . And they're only going to keep getting smarter, more connected, and more powerful. So for a company that is doing well shipping a lot of notebooks, finding a way to sell even smaller versions of those computers makes a lot of sense.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.

 

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