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Acer Liquid Android phone hands-on: Wi-Fi syncing and app store on its way

We got our fingers wet with the Acer Liquid, Acer's first Android phone, and we also got the scoop and Acer's plans to bring wireless syncing to your Liquid life

Flora Graham
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Acer phones haven't done much to set our world on fire, since it bought E-Ten and started firing out smart phones, but the Acer Liquid might just change that.

This Android phone rocks the 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, which we've only seen with one arm tied behind its back in Windows Mobile phones such as the Toshiba TG01. With the much more luscious Android operating system, as well as Wi-Fi and 7.2Mbs HSDPA for fast downloads over 3G, we should be able to open it up and see what it can really do.

It'll also be the first Android phone to have a WVGA screen, thanks to the fact it runs the latest 1.6 Donut release of Android, which supports different resolutions.

Acer told us the Liquid will support two methods of syncing, which should keep your ducks in a row. The first is an enhanced version of the Google syncing found on all Android phones. As well as syncing your Google email, calendar and contacts, the Liquid will have the option to sync your Outlook email, calendar and contacts and automatically upload your videos to YouTube and your photos to Picasa -- essentially making Google's media services into a backup location for your vids and snaps.

Acer's also used its mastery of the PC to create a new kind of Android syncing we haven't seen before. Called Acer Sync, it allows you to pair the Liquid with any Windows PC over the same Wi-Fi network. It'll require you to install some client software on the computer, but it means you can backup and sync to your computer any time it's on the same Wi-Fi network as the phone, without a USB or Bluetooth connection. Acer wasn't able to tell us if it would back up your Android apps, which we think is a much-needed feature for Android fans, but it did say it would support pairing with multiple PCs.

We also heard that an Acer app store is in the works, to increase the handful of custom widgets and apps that come pre-loaded on the Liquid, such as streaming-music app Spinlets.

We can expect to see the Acer Liquid in shops in late November, but we don't know what networks it'll be moistening, or how much we can expect to pay.

Click 'Continue' for a wet and wild ride through the Acer Liquid.

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The Acer Liquid runs a slightly modified version of Android that adds some social-networking features and a couple of home-screen widgets. That means you'll be able to see your Facebook contacts merged into your address book and keep up with live Twitter chat (or twhat). The two widgets display a scrolling cover flow of Internet bookmarks or media thumbnails, including photos, videos and album covers. There's also the ever-popular custom clocks on offer. And no, this isn't a pink one, just a white one in pink lighting -- the Liquid comes in white, red or black.
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Our first go using Android with the powerful Snapdragon processor was a pleasure, although it was a prototype device. We were particularly impressed with the Liquid's bright, beautiful touchscreen -- YouTube, for example, looked fantastic on the WVGA screen.
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The front of the phone features four flat, touch-sensitive buttons: home, back, menu and search. The Android keyboard looks mostly untouched, and works in portrait or landscape.
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The Liquid was glossy all over, glomming hundreds of fingerprints, and it was very thin, at only 12mm thick. The 97mm (3.8-inch) screen is packed into a 119mm by 63mm case.
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The top of the Liquid has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, and there's also a custom music player widget so you can control your tunes from the home screen. There's also a 5-megapixel camera on the back.

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