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back to article Acer A1 Liquid Android smartphone

Over the last 12 months Acer has been spitting out smartphones like there is no tomorrow. Some of them, like the Tempo F900, have been quite good while others, like the beTouch E101, have been, ahem, less impressive. Yet none have really scored as a hit in our book, but that may be about to change with the release of the A1 …

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Pint

probably one of the best android phones yet

Main reason is the 512mb onboard memory. I'd like to see one of these in the flesh as android has come a long way in a year. With my omnia contract up at the end of the month i'm looking for something to kick it into touch. Nothing I have seen will do that yet (the omnia is even better if you flash 6.5 and M2D touchflo onto it).

Its a shame it doesnt have the little trackball that blackberrys and the original G1 had, they are great to use. Im a bit worried about the battery life though.

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Anonymous Coward

well after reading that...

i am not going to be changing my iPhone yet...

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Dead Vulture

WTF

Why in the hell does this plasticky POS with no redeeming features get a score of 85%? It's an immediately forgettable phone, and reading over the review, the only positive I was able to discern was the fact that it wasn't "tarted up" which is probably due to the fact Acer couldn't be bothered spending the dosh on a custom interface job. And yet, 85% rating. IIRC that's how much the original iPhone got.

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Stop

original iPhone...

was a masive pile of crap! No 3G, MMS, crap camera etc, and that 'POS with no redeeming features' got 85%?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WTF

Perhaps the reason the original iPhone only got 85% in its initial review was that it was a GPRS-only device back then, when everything else was already 3G. And no GPS. And a crap camera.

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Many of us?

"...many of us need nothing more than a good Twitter and Facebook application..."

Further, many of us don't even need that - particularly the first...

The phone? It's a bit ugly...

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Anonymous Coward

OGG support?

I thought all Androids supported OGG too?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorbis#Hardware

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@AC re Ogg

Quite right too. Android does indeed support Ogg Vorbis, apologies for the oversight.

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Rating

What's wrong with the rating? It would seem the negative points are the lack of addition to the standard andoird O/S.

The first iPhone had many problems, so 85% was the correct figure to give for it. For all it's success, the current iPhone still has many issues; the fact so much add-on software is available for it doesn't mean that as a device alone it excels over all other smartphones!

Certain mobiles on reghardware have deservedly got high ratings, due to the fact they cater for a wide audience, such as the E71 and E72. The iPhone, no matter how you look at it, has very basic features, which do work well, but are also missing a great deal.

I've used one of these Acers at a show recently, and it really is very responsive, and customizable, to the extent that in actuality it is really a great phone to consider. Graham Norton balloons and flair aren't always required to get a job done.

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FAIL

Android Market access - Beware

This phone does not have full access to the Android Market. Like a lot of unlocked handsets it won't allow you to browse, search and install applications marked as copy-protected so you're losing up to as many as 25% of the applications there. I found this to my cost after buying the Liquid when I lost access to several applications I'd already bought and paid for on my G1.

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FAIL

Yes, but it's Acer

does sound good, on paper. Limited access to Android apps and no flash for the camera is a stupid oversight making it a non-contender straight away for the vast majority, but it's biggest drawback is it's made by Acer so if it goes wrong you're screwed and there won't be much in the way of updates

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A review for consumers

As The Register is primarily aimed at IT professionals it would be nice to see in reviews of such devices more technical details. Like how easy it is to raise a terminal interface, can different user accounts with differing levels of privilege be created. What commands are available, is there a netcat equivalent for instance? How easy is it to strip the OS of bundled apps and install ones own? What shells can be run? Any scripting possible either shell or Python? It looks like a nice piece of kit, but how useful is it really beyond being a net browsing media playing phone?

I realise these details can be researched elsewhere and a certainly beyond the remit of a consumer review. However considering the demographic of El Reg readership such details would not be out of place.

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Re: adnim

That sounds like a review of Android. I certainly hope the reg doesn't review Android each and every time they review an Android phone. As a "Technical Audience" isn't it safe to assume the readership either already knows the OS pretty well or can find out from other sources? This is a review of the Acer Liquid - not Android. The only OS related things we need to know are what version of Android is on it, how quickly does it run it and are there any customisations? The review covers that.

On the other hand, an in-depth review of Android or a "hackers guide" - a bit like the ones done for Linpus last year - would be very handy.

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@ Gerard re. Android Market

As part of the test we loaded the Liquid with the same dozen Market place applications we have installed on a Hero and everyone ran perfectly, though admittedly they were all free rather than purchased apps. I suspect the issue is with transferring already purchased apps from one handset to another rather than with limited Market access per se. Certainly we noticed nothing 'missing' from the Android Market accessed via the Liquid compared to the Market accessed via a T-Mobile Hero.

If you could give me some instances of apps not being available via the Liquid I'll happily check into it.

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WTF?

App not on market

Think I've found an app thats not on the market on the Liquid but when I search for it on a G1 its available.

http://aor.leadapps.com/home

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Example Apps

DataViz DocumentsToGo (full version)

RecordIt by Austin Reid

This isn't a problem limited to the Acer. The Motorola Milestone and even the HTC Hero have had similar problems and it's the same specific symptoms. It's not paid apps missing per se but apps marked by developers as "copy protected" (Google automatically applies a copy-protection mechanism to them called Forward Locking based on giving each app a unique Linux user ID) that are missing. There are numerous threads about this on Google forums only one of which has provoked any kind of useful response from Google.

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Android+Market/thread?tid=247141109ac14e35&hl=en

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Transferring Apps

I should add that this isn't a problem with transferring apps because I have installed at least 2 apps on the Acer successfully that I bought on the G1. They are both paid apps but not copy protected:

Robo Defense by Lupis Labs Software

Advanced Task Manager by Arron La

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WTF?

Re: A review for consumers

This site's readership are consumers too!

We have similar needs as everyone else.

Regarding your in-depth review request: have I missed a joke or were you serious about all those things?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Simon Aldrich

Is the back of the phone also getting quite warm? If so, you just have a faulty battery. It happens fairly frequently and with all phones. Take it back and get a new one.

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a fifty-dollar hooker?

well look at Mr fancy pants there :D

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@Bassey

I get your point, and pretty much agree, but cannot handset manufacturers customise Android to the point that it no longer resembles or behaves as a completely open install of Android would? I presume it can be locked down to the point where there is no access to the underlying OS itself. Apple do this quite well, one of the reasons I don't own, sorry rent an iPhone.

@ AC 15:22, no you didn't miss a joke, just the point.

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FAIL

SenseMe

It's "Sense" UI.

And why does this phone get lauded for lacking it? At the end of the review it seems to get praise for lacking the previously mentioned as useful and nice shell that HTC provide for their phones.

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AOR

@Daft009 - Nope, the AOR radio app is available on the Liquid, I'm using on my mine at this very moment!

And I think the point the review was making about the HTC overlay is that while yes it looks cool, it eats into performance and slows handsets down. I've got a Hero and it runs much faster with HTC's Sense/SenseMe/TouchFlo/whatever-they-are-calling-it-today disabled.

For day to day use the Liquid is the best Android phone I've come across, and I've had occassion to use them all.

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Stop

Roten Apples

Nice to see people complaining about the iPhone rating..

Maybe the issue is that this phone is technically superior in every way (it is) and that it only costs just over 300 quid inc vat sim free...

Think about that for a second and look at the price of a sim free iPhone...

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Go

USB Support & A Connection Manager

In the article it mentions that the USB drivers aren't available (and not on the CD) ... a bit of hunting later and there are some links to share.

The Acer UK site doesn't give you the link to the USB drivers and the ACER software, but you can get the user manual there (which talks about tethering).

The manual is at:

http://www.acer.co.uk/acer/service.do?LanguageISOCtxParam=en&miu10einu24.current.attN2B2F2EEF=3734&sp=page15e&ctx2.c2att1=17&miu10ekcond13.attN2B2F2EEF=3734&CountryISOCtxParam=UK&ctx1g.c2att92=122&ctx1.att21k=1&CRC=2980211862

The USB drivers and the ACER connection manager can be downloaded from:

ftp://ftp.support.acer-euro.com/smartphone/s100/driver/

ftp://ftp.support.acer-euro.com/smartphone/software/AcerSync.zip

I found the abve links on the following web site:

http://www.acerliquid.net/category/acer-liquid-driver

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