Acer has announced that the co-president of the BYOC Smart Products Business Unit and the head of the smartphone and wearable product divisions, ST Liew, is leaving. Although Acer did not state why he is leaving, local news sources have stated that he is to join Qualcomm Taiwan as a president. Acer has reported that they will be making a number of operational business unit changes to take effect on the 1 October. These include Acer's Maverick Shih, the remaining co-president, to take over running the BYOC Smart Products Business Unit after ST Liew's departure. Furthermore, the smartphone and wearable product division will be transferred to Jerry Kao's IT Products Business. It is unclear is Acer has medium term plans to replace ST Liew or if the new arrangement from October will continue on.
ST Liew joined Acer in 2010 and has helped push the businesses smartphone and related business along. During these six years, Acer have increased their product line from simply smartphones to includes wearables, PC 'phones and more recently through a collaboration with Victorinox, the Cybertool watch-enhancement device. Although not all of these ideas have been seen as successful, Acer have a long history with Android devices. They were one of the first manufacturers to introduce 10-inch sized tablets running Android 3.0 Honeycomb in the shape of the Iconia series. Acer also upgraded these early Iconia-branded tablets to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich through Android versions 3.1 and 3.2 first. The company has also produced a number of Acer Liquid smartphones and has confirmed that ST Liew's departure will not change its short term plans: it is bringing a high end smartphone at the Berlin IFA trade show in early September. It is also planning to release a "gaming smartphone" and three additional devices described as entry to mid-range models in the second half of 2016.
Qualcomm Taiwan's gain sounds like Acer's loss. ST Liew is sure to be able to use his experience of smart devices and related products at Qualcomm but further up in the design stream. The American chipset designer is pushing into alternative markets away from chipsets for smartphones and tablets; we are seeing the business invest heavily into Internet-of-Things technologies, including small, low power System-on-Chips, Wi-Fi and LTE modems, plus other chips. It is also completely possible that ST Liew will be back in touch with Acer to see how Qualcomm's portfolio of chipsets can help Acer achieve their smartproduct objectives.