Dell was one of Microsoft's original Windows Phone partners with the Dell Venue Pro. However, Dell was not officially listed as one of the Microsoft hardware partners committing to produce a new Windows Phone preloaded with the Mango operating system.
Given that fact, why are there new reports surfacing this week about Dell not doing a Mango phone? According to WPCentral, there was, back in February, a rumored Dell Mango phone, codenamed "Wrigley," in Dell's plans. But that device is no longer on Dell's roadmap, the site reported today.
The bigger question is whether Dell will return to the Windows Phone fold next year when Microsoft's "Apollo" Windows Phone 8 operating system is ready? WPCentral characterized that possibility as a "maybe."
I asked Dell on October 7 whether the company was backing out of the Windows Phone market completely and received a somewhat curiously worded, non-committal reply.
"We have not made any announcements confirming that Windows Phone devices are no longer in the pipeline," a Dell spokesperson told me via e-mail. "Dell is committed to providing the best mobility solutions, regardless of the operating system, to our global customers."
(I realize this doesn't mean Dell isn't going to make more Windows Phones. When I asked for a comment, I wasn't expecting Dell to preannounce its Windows Phone 8 models and rollout dates. But I was thinking company officials might provide a little more sense of commitment to supporting the platform going forward, if that's Dell's intention.)
The spokesperson also noted that some existing Dell Venue Pro phones are in the process of being upgraded to the recently-released Mango operating system. From a September 29 Dell blog post:
"Mango will be supported on all unlocked Venue Pro smartphones and T-Mobile and Cincinnati Bell SIM-locked units.... For customers with AT&T-locked units, unfortunately I don't yet have information on the Mango update. Stay tuned to this blog for more details."
According to Microsoft's "Where's My Windows Phone" update page on October 7, there is no information about when Dell Venue Pros on AT&T will be updated with Mango.
In other Windows Phone news closing out the week, Engadget reported today that some Mango phone users are having problems using Outlook on Windows Phone in conjunction with Exchange 2003. (Missing original messages, problems when using Reply All, etc. are being reported by some Exchange 2003 users in the Forums.) I asked Microsoft whether this is an issue that the company plans to remedy, or if Microsoft's advice to users is to upgrade to Exchange 2007/2010 to get around the problem. No word back yet from the Softies.
Update: A different Dell spokesperson gave a different statement to WinExtra, saying Dell has a "product on the roadmap for Win8." Note the wording: He didn't say a Windows 8 phone. But given Microsoft may be moving toward a Windows 8 core for Windows Phone 8, perhaps that means a Dell Windows Phone 8 isn't out of the question.