We sat down with the higher-ups from Acer to talk about the future of the company as well as asking some of our burning questions as the company is indeed venturing into many things that are indirectly related to the computer industry.
Using post-consumer recycled materials into laptops
Our first topic is concerning the post-consumer recycling (PCR) program and this is an initiative that Acer started a few years ago with the Vero lineup of products. Acer said they used about 35% to 45% of the recycled material to manufacture the Vero products. These recycled materials are sourced from certified sources, which is another topic of its own that we’ll not get into today.
But why does Acer only use 35% to 45% of PCR in its Vero products? That is because it does affect the structural integrity of the laptop and the laptop needs to last for years. So, Acer has to maximize the percentage of PCR used while still maintaining its structural integrity – and that brings us to the next question.
The cost of PCR laptops
Yes, changing the supply chain from conventional plastic to PCR will definitely affect the cost of producing the laptop. Acer did spend for the R&D and that also affects the product margin of the Vero lineup of laptops too. Particularly for the Vero lineup, Acer claims that its profit margin isn’t as much as the regular plastic laptops and they are absorbing part of the cost.
Responding to user demand
Then, we asked a bunch of other questions and the reply we get is somewhere along the lines of “depends on the user demand”. We asked if Acer will put OLED screens in more of their product, the potential for handheld gaming devices, and also ConceptD products.
Acer is also moving towards consumer-grade routers What Acer said they’re doing differently is by focusing on software and ecosystem too. That makes sense since everyone can buy the same hardware so the true differentiator is the software.
And then – SpatialLabs. Acer did say that there is a lot of potential in glasses-free AR and these technologies are beneficial for developers too. Acer is indeed looking closely at AR/VR/XR but the main concern of not pursuing it as of now is the limitations and comfort issues with VR headsets. I do agree – and you can at most wear a VR headset for about an hour and a half before the discomfort starts to set in.
The change of laptop naming scheme
Lastly – why did Acer change the naming scheme of the laptop from the (for example) Swift 3, Swift 5, Swift 7 to Swift 13 and so on? Acer said that the 3-5-7 naming scheme will implant an idea into the customer’s mind that the Swift 5 must be better and more expensive than the Swift 3. That, however, means that Acer cannot mix and match configurations of their laptops freely. And that can be done now with the new naming scheme.