Acer Cloud due 2012 to link PCs, phones and tablets

Acer has announced plans to launch Acer Cloud, a web-based service to pull together its various PCs, tablets and phones. Built upon new Acer acquisition iGware - which the company confirmed this week it had bought for $320m, and which already powers cloud and infrastructure systems for Nintendo's Wii, DSi and 3DS, along with the upcoming Wii U - Acer Cloud will show up in new products next year.

"The goal of Acer Cloud is to allow our users enjoy and manage all their ICT devices, contents and resources with ease, by integrating all Acer products including PCs, tablets and smart handheld devices within a safe and secure environment" Acer CEO and chairman J.T. Wang explained. The system is supposedly built on open principles, according to Acer and iGware, though exactly how much third-parties will be able to integrate with it has not been specified.

Similarly, the exact nature of Acer Cloud itself is unspecified, though iGware offers "cloud-based device ecosystems, virtual consoles and personal cloud" services. Remote backup and synchronization seem likely elements, along with perhaps remote access to Acer PCs from the company's smartphones and tablets, but it's also possible that Acer could introduce a cloud-based gaming system similar to OnLive, which HTC is beginning to offer on its mobile devices.

Using the cloud and related services to differentiate hardware that is increasingly looking similar at a spec sheet level is gaining traction among manufacturers. HTC Sense evolved from a UI overlay to a suite of online services including remote access and tracking, and HTC has talked in the past about extending its reach to the "digital home." Meanwhile, Apple announced iCloud with great fanfare earlier this year, interlinking the company's iOS devices and its OS X computers.