Acer jumps into wearables with a Liquid Leap: plus, new Liquid Jade phone

/ Updated: August 28, 2014 7:37 AM PDT

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The Acer Liquid Leap. Scott Stein/CNET

Blink and you missed it: yes, Acer is getting into wearables, and its first band, the Liquid Leap, was shown ever-so-briefly at a New York press event for new tablets and laptops, alongside a new phone, the Acer Liquid Jade.

The Liquid Jade looks like a streamlined evolution of previous Acer phones, with a beige-ish green color on the back that's supposed to be -- you guessed it -- jade. It's a 5-inch Android phone with a 720p screen, and few other details currently available. But the interesting news seems to be the Leap.

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Liquid Leap: reminiscent of Fitbit Force. Scott Stein/CNET

The Acer Liquid Leap, which is 17mm thick, is planned to launch alongside Acer's new Liquid Jade phone later this year. As for what it does... good question.

While information was in short supply at the New York launch, more details came to light at the Computex show in Taiwan. Acer had the Liquid Leap on its stand and gave us a quick run through some of the features.

In all honestly it's a fairly standard offering when it comes to fitness tracking. Steps walked, calories burned and distance covered are all recorded. You can also track the time spent doing specific exercise, a little like the Jawbone Up24's feature.

Sleep tracking is there as well, although it's not known just how sensitive the Liquid Leap will be in terms of being able to differentiate between light and deep sleep.

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Acer demonstrates call notifications on the Liquid Leap at Computex. Nic Healey/CNET

There's also music control and call and text notifications, although these were set up as demonstrations of the functionality and might not reflect how the finished product works. The music control is fairly simple -- pause/play, forward and back -- but the call and text were just notifications: there's no option to reject a call or send a template text in return, as with the Samsung Gear Fit.

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The Leap in its charging cradle. Nic Healey/CNET

We also got a look at the charger, which is a clunky affair, almost identical to the original Galaxy Gear. It actually encloses the whole of the Leap. Proprietary chargers of any nature are usually a big pain -- they're too easy to lose, rendering the whole product unusable until you fork out for a new one.

According to Acer representatives on the stand, the company is aiming for an August/September launch, at the bargain basement price of $99. That's very far from finalised, however, and the actual price could differ. If Acer does manage to keep the cost that low, the equivalent pricing would be AU$107 in Australia and £60 in the UK.

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Acer Liquid Jade phone: Mmm, beige. Scott Stein/CNET

The Liquid Jade phone will emerge in markets outside the US first. The Liquid Leap comes to the UK in late September starting at £79.99. Information on availability and price will arrive down the line for the Liquid Jade, and for both products in other markets.

Updated June 3, 2014: More information on the Liquid Leap was made available by Acer at Computex 2014. Updated August 28, 2014: UK pricing for Liquid Leap.

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Acer Liquid Leap

Part Number: LIQUIDLEAP
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