Dell launches first U.S. smartphone, the Android-powered Aero

Dell enters the smartphone game in the U.S. today with the launch of the Aero.

The buzz about Dell becoming a smartphone player in the U.S. - a murmur that's been swirling around for a couple of years now - is no longer speculation. The Dell Aero, an Android phone for AT&T, made its debut today in the U.S.

It's a crowded field out there - not just in smartphones, but increasingly in the Android environment, as well. And, with AT&T still the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S., it looks like Dell has taken on a Hurculean challenge. Not only must it rise above the noise in Androidville, but it will also need to stand out as something really special in AT&T stores.

Dell doesn't have the best track record when it comes to entering an established product category late - the Dell DJ Ditty, after all, was a train wreck. But Apple already dominated the music player market with the iPod by that time - and very few have been able to gain any sort of traction next to the iPod.

But don't count Dell out of the game just yet. Yes, competition is stiff but, in the smartphone game, design and aesthetics go a long way with consumers who understand that Android is Android is Android, regardless of the device. And, consumers seem to be a bit fickle when it comes to smartphones - in love with one device today and excited about the coming of the next one tomorrow.

Dell is selling the Aero for $99 with a two-year AT&T contract, or $300 without the contract.

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