2014 will be the first year in a long time that we don't have some major hardware advancement that really sells a new phone. In the past we've seen dual, quad and octo cores be made a big deal, as well as 720p and 1080p displays, bigger cameras, etc. This year most of that stuff is pretty incremental, so we're seeing the market adapt to that fact. Acer has their newest flagship model the Liquid E3 in tow at this year's Mobile World Congress show, and they've got quite a few of their own unique features to try and lure you in to buying the phone. Besides some pretty standard specs for what seems to be a mid-range phone nowadays, Acer has packed in some pretty interesting hardware and software features to make up for not having the latest in hardware prowess.
At MWC 2014 an Acer employee was showing off the Liquid E3 and all its unique features, including many that have been quickly adapted to new market trends. LG's trend-setting back buttons make a unique appearance here, as the Liquid E3 still has the standard 3 capacitive buttons in the front, but now has a shortcut key on the back called RAPID. You can set a single press of the key to launch any app on the phone, and long-pressing the key will always launch the camera. Speaking of cameras Acer has placed an LED flash right next to the front-facing camera, meaning you can take those selfies all night long without having to worry about low-light situations. Acer is also giving users a bit more privacy by adding a new option to the notification shade: mute. Each notification can be long-pressed to head over to app settings and turn off notifications for just about any app, which has been a feature of Android for a few years now, but Acer is letting you actually snooze individual apps with their new feature. You can choose to snooze notifications for an app anywhere from 1 hour to forever, meaning you can fine-tune what you want to see in your bar without ever having to search through an app's settings menu.
Acer is launching the Liquid E3 this April internationally in both single and dual-SIM models. It's got a 4.7-inch HD IPS display and a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, along with a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It's only running Android 4.2.2, which is interesting as you'll notice that Acer took the time to update the icons on the system to Android 4.4 KitKat style icons but not the OS itself. Acer, however, has promised an Android 4.4 KitKat update after the launch of the phone.