Dell to launch Android and Windows Mobile phones

Dell to launch Android and Windows Mobile phones

Summary: New reports indicate that PC Giant Dell will be rolling out not one, but (count 'em) two new smartphone handsets in the short term – as soon as next month. Now here's the weird part, Dell is said to be preparing handsets for both the Android and Windows Mobile operating systems.


New reports indicate that PC Giant Dell will be rolling out not one, but (count 'em) two new smartphone handsets in the short term – as soon as next month. Now here's the weird part, Dell is said to be preparing handsets for both the Android and Windows Mobile operating systems. Talk about hedging your bet.

Following rumors going back as far as July 2007, the Wall Street Journal announced this morning that Dell will introduce in February at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona two new mobile phones, set to go head to head with market leaders Apple and Research In Motion.

The MePhone (hopefully, that's just a code name) will come in all-touchscreen and slide-out keyboard versions, but what's not clear is which model will run which OS or if they're interchangeable. The phone is due to ship in September and carrier partners have not been announced.

Hopefully the latest competition to the iPhone will motivate Apple to continue to innovate and bring new features to market a little faster (nudge, nudge). It's been a while since anyone has trotted out the tired "iPhone killer" phrase, and I don't think that the MePhone will earn the distinction. Anyone remember Dell's DJ Ditty music player?

Update: I hope that it doesn't come out looking like the Alien Android concept pictured above.

What's your take? Can Dell get the smartphone right?

Topics: Dell, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software, Windows

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  • Windows = Turn off

    Use a Linux device OS for crying out loud, goin the 'Windokes' path always leads to a dead end.

    Blackberry actually works without locking up, rebooting, and draining batteries in 1 day.
    • Too bad that Lamedroid

      Er, "Android" will not work works without locking up, rebooting, and draining batteries in 1 day.

      [i]That[/i] sounds much more accurate!

      [i]I enjoy using my T-Mobile G1, but with my usage scenarios I can only go half a day with the battery[/i]

      (from another blog)
    • Linux phones have been around for a long time

      And yet they still haven't taken over the world. Gee, I wonder why... probably because the magic word 'Linux' isn't any better than the alternatives.
    • You're obviously uneducated

      Okay, I may have only had a Windows Mobile phone for 2 years, but [i]"locking up, rebooting, and draining the batteries in 1 day"[/i]? Maybe... just maybe, my phone is the odd one out as I've never suffered any of those problems that you've described so eloquently. Maybe I'm just a sucker for punishment, which is why my next phone is going to be a Windows Mobile based device as well? [b]Maybe you're just full of hot air like every other Windows Mobile basher?[/b]
      General C#
      • He's just another ABM Tard on a mission...

        You'll have to excuse him... He's on a mission from his god - Stahlman. He's just gotta put in a biting remark about how much "Microshaft suks" on any post that mentions any Microsoft product...
  • not really "hedging"

    Dell would be providing alternatives, which is what hardware manufacturers should do. We've seen what limiting OS choices (and carriers) can do to most phones - limit customers.

    If they can do it, I think running your choice of OS on the same phone hardware is a great idea. Then we don't have to put up with the trolls as much, except when they run benchmarks and proclaim their OS as FASTER than the other.

    If Dell can bring a cheap, decent touchscreen Android phone, and the same for Windows Mobile, I'm all for it.
  • The concept phone looks like a sad prop to an

    under funded Sci Fi movies. Something you might find on
    the Sci Fi channel..:)

    Or a 1950's scifi movie.

    But then again it is Dell.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • Remember the Dell Axiom

    I bought the Dell Axiom, at the time it was a great pocket PC for the price about 250 dollars or so. I still have it and use it. Works great. It has a CF slot that I use for network connectivity and an SD slot that I use for extra memory.

    My point is this: If Dell can come out and price the phones at 250.00 dollars and not kill off the feature set and not sell them though the phone carriers then God Bless Dell, I would buy one. Hell they are offering your choice of the Android or Win Mobile OS's. If you don't like Windows go with Android. For me I like the Windows platform for the phone because of the amount of 3rd party apps available. I have a BlackJack that I use once in a while and it works great. I'm not really big into the whole smart phone deal and usually my SIM card is hooked into my RAZR V9. The V9 is cool because you don't look like a frigging geek walking around with brick hanging off your carcass. But like I said I do own a black jack and when I have a need to walk around with a smart phone I do it.
  • Slideout keyboard had my attention already...

    I like what Android can bring to the table but all the new rumored models seem to pass on the physical keyboard. And as for IPhone killer...almost anything with a real keyboard kills the IPhone in usability. I guess some folk are just waiting to see something as "pretty".
    • Or usability is a personal judgement and others

      don't share your views on the subject, and pretty has nothing to do with

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Maybe it is...

        ...but I'd think anyone that has to type such short emails due to the frequency of errors and the time it takes to type them would say the phone is not very usable. Its pretty though.
        • Funny....

          Since I got my iPhone last month, my text messages and emails have been
          getting longer and longer. I think your idea of usability and mine differ greatly.

          While you are certainly welcome to your opinion, my experience shows that
          your opinion is not based in fact.
          • I disagree

            I have a iphone and a htc touch and I can type way faster on my touch. They
            are both touch phones but with the touch the keyboard just works better with
            the screen. If there was a choice of on screen keyboards it could be better
  • Don't buy phones from these idiots

    After screwing us, their loyal Axim customers (I
    bought three different models, X5, X30 and X50), I do
    not know why they think they can fool anybody again
    with products that they would undoubtedly abandon
    withing 3 or 4 years. Dell DJ anyone?
  • RE: Dell to launch Android and Windows Mobile phones

    The Channel Wire
    January 30, 2009

    Five Reasons Dell Should Leave Smartphones Alone
    Dell is supposedly looking to stick its hand in the already overstuffed smartphone cookie jar, planning devices based on both the Google Android operating system and Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS, possibly within the next month as February's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona creeps closer.

    According to reports from The Wall Street Journal, Dell has been working on smartphone prototypes for more than a year. The prototypes include a device with a touch-screen keyboard, similar to the Apple iPhone, and another device with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, similar to the recently announced Palm Pre.

    But the computer giant is joining the party a little too late to actually make a splash.

    The smartphone market is already crowded, with the likes of BlackBerry, Apple and Palm jockeying for market share. Can Dell get into the market this late and be successful, while also offering innovative products? Probably not. Sure, Dell has been innovative in other facets of the high-tech biz, but when it comes to smartphones, establishing yourself as a major player in an overcrowded field seems more like a waste of time.

    Here are five reasons Dell should pack up its toys and go home, before a smartphone flop blows up in its face.

    1. You can't beat the Apple iPhone
    Many have tried to dethrone the iPhone from its high perch as king of the touch-screen devices. The BlackBerry Storm has yet to reach the summit, and other competitors from the likes of Sprint, T-Mobile and more are still tackling the first hundred feet. Word is Dell is looking to build its own iPhone clone, a touch-screen smartphone that would rival Apple's consumer device darling. Fat chance, considering Apple managed to unload 2.4 million iPhone 3G models in just its first quarter. Success like that would take something more than a rip-off, and we doubt that Dell has what it takes.

    2. Isn't Dell trying to save money?
    Granted, smartphones are relatively inexpensive to manufacture, with the iPhone costing around $174 and the BlackBerry Storm costing about $203 per unit, according to a recent iSuppli report. And, oftentimes, smartphone margins are pretty high. But in this time of economic uncertainty, branching into a new market could work against Dell, especially when the company recently revealed a plan to cut $3 billion in operating expenses to combat slumping PC sales.

    3. Remember what happened to the Axim?
    Dell already tried to crack into the lucrative mobile device market with its Axim line of Windows Mobile-based PDAs. Dell's Axim Pocket PC play, an early iteration of a true smartphone, was short-lived, fizzling out about five years after it made its debut in 2002. The Axim family, which saw several models, was officially discontinued in April 2007 amidst declining sales of PDA form-factor devices, a similar fate suffered by Palm's original line of handhelds. The difference, however, is that Palm forged on, and forged on quickly, capturing early smartphone sales. Dell, on the other hand, let the Axim line die and left it dead for a while before going back to the drawing board. This much time out of the market could work against Dell as it tries to gain traction in a market it abandoned once already. Does any smartphone user want to hang their hat, or their data, on a device made by someone that has already failed in the market?

    4. No one likes a Johnny-come-lately
    You got to start somewhere, but unless Dell is bringing something new and innovative to the smartphone market, it shouldn't even bother. Of course, Dell hasn't officially made its smartphone intentions known or even confirmed that a smartphone is on its product road map. But if one is, it darn well better be good. If Dell builds a touch-screen, it's already been done. If Dell tries its hand at a 3G device, it's been done ad nauseam. Is there really anything new that Dell can add that hasn't been done already or isn't currently under development by market masters Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd., Apple or a host of others that want their piece of the smartphone pie? Doubtful.

    5. Dude, you're gettin' a Dell
    Dell has become somewhat notorious for its customer service, or lack thereof. Just this month, Dell reached a $3.85 million settlement with 46 states that complained of customer service abuses by the company. In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal called Dell's abuses "significant," noting "customers faced unacceptable obstacles obtaining warranty service on their Dell computers and others said they never received promised rebates.

    "Dell must hit delete and then reprogram and restart customer relations by keeping all its promises. More than the money, this agreement provides profoundly important business practice reforms," Blumenthal continued.

    Dell, however, said the issues brought in the legal settlement affected only a "small percentage" of customers, and many of the business practices raised in the complaint had been eliminated by the computer manufacturer before the settlement.

    Still, that wasn't the first time Dell was in hot water for shady practices. In May 2008, a New York State Supreme Court Judge said Dell was running a classic bait-and-switch scheme and denying customers promised deals. "Dell has engaged in repeated misleading, deceptive and unlawful business conduct, including false and deceptive advertising of financing promotions and the terms of warranties, fraudulent, misleading and deceptive practices in credit financing, and failure to provide warranty service and rebates," the judge wrote.

    Lawsuits based around customer service issues aren't too enticing to the smartphone-buying public, which is always wary of someone trying to pull a fast one. If Dell expects to succeed in the smartphone market, it had better keep everything above board, or the initiative will go bust before it begins.
    • Another way to look at it

      I see things a little differently:

      1. Dell & other PC vendors have no choice but to get in to smartphones. Smartphones are now portable wireless computers and computers are their business.

      2. The mobile phone market is HUGE (1.15 billion sold in 2007). Even with iPhone's incredible success, it still only has 1.1% market share.

      3. Netbooks & smartphones are the hottest segments right now. Being in both should at least improve your chances of generating revenue in a slow economy.

      4. Android is currently only available on one OK looking smartphone. The first vendor to deliver an attractive, reasonably priced Android device might discover a gold mine. Why not Dell?

      5. The iPhone, Blackberry & Pre devices are awesome but they are more upper-mid to high-end devices. There is a huge potential market for low cost smartphones and this might be Android's sweet spot...being free & open source.

      6. Dell has brand recognition & global reach. That can only help, when entering a crowded market.

      7. Any experience Dell gains with Android on smartphones can be applied to netbooks, if Android moves in that direction.
      • Are we really still talking about Dell surviving?

        No, really, are people seriously still considering that Dell can survive?

        This Dell phone thing, whatever it looks like, will be Dell's Zune, and
        we all know it.

        But unlike MS, Dell can't afford to bury the R&D, never mind the
        wasted marketing and the losses on unsold units.

        Google and Apple will kill Dell's market by degrees. Then...

        2009/2010 will see a Yahoo type situation at Dell. They may
        rearrange the deck chairs a bit, Michael Dell will leave - again [but
        this time no-one will give a toss what he says about Apple], some fool
        may make a bid [maybe Ballmer... or Zuckerberg lol], but the end
        game will read the same, no matter what they do.

        Graham Ellison
  • RE: Dell to launch Android and Windows Mobile phones

    SEPTEMBER? I need my yucks now! I just hope it is
    a steaming pile of cheap plastic packed with some
    kind of windows product. Maybe then-finally-Dell
    will sail over the cliff into oblivion.
    Black Barack
  • RE: Dell to launch Android and Windows Mobile phones

    Dell has never pole vaulted over others' technology in any significant way. It's just not in their DNA. They're good copycats, and they have a great deal of leverage to get components at a bargain price, but no one ever accused them of leading the market in design or innovation. That's not going to change just because they need to stop bleeding cash.

    I do sympathize with their shareholders. Things are not going to get better for them for a very long time, if ever.

    If I were Michael Dell, I'd sell the company to HP, buy an island in the South Pacific, and never be heard from again.
    • Bleeding cash?

      "The company reported a fiscal third-quarter profit of $727 million, or 37 cents a share, on revenue of $15.16 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet Research, had forecast the firm to earn 32 cents a share on $16.3 billion in sales.

      Dell's earnings rose 18 over the same quarter in 2007, where it earned $616 million, but dipped five percent from the $766 milion, or 34 cents a share, it earned in the second fiscal quarter of this year. "

      It is reasonable to criticise the company but just want to point out the fact that you cannot be bleeding money when you are making profits of around $700m every quarter.