Dell launches Android smartphone; Inks China, Brazil carrier deals

Dell has hatched its grand smartphone plan and it's focused on emerging markets. The company confirmed its plans to launch smartphones in China and Brazil.

Dell officially hatched its grand smartphone plan and it's focused on emerging markets and the Android operating system. The company confirmed its plans to launch smartphones in China and Brazil.

In a statement Friday, Dell said it will distribute its Mini 3 smartphones through China Mobile, the wireless behemoth in China. In Brazil, Dell has inked a deal with Claro, which has more than 42 million customers.

The strategy makes a lot of sense. In the U.S. Dell would face a crowded field. In so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) the growth pie is big enough to support multiple players and new entrants such as Dell. For instance, China Mobile has 500 million customers.

Gallery: Dell calls on its new Mini 3 smartphone

The other notable wrinkle here is that Dell's Mini 3 smartphones run on Android. The Mini 3 will be available in late November on China Mobile and by the end of the year on Claro. In a blog post, Dell said:

With Android, we’re designing these initial Mini 3 phones to provide power, flexibility and customization to both our customers and to carriers around the world.

It remains to be seen whether Dell can be a smartphone contender, but if it's going to be successful the emerging markets are the best place to start. Indeed, Ron Garriques, president of Dell's consumer group, is familiar with emerging market turf since he led Motorola's efforts abroad.

Dell said the moves solidify its "continued expansion into mobile Internet products." Dell already has a bevy of netbook deals with various carriers around the world. Rumors of Dell's move into smartphones have circulated for months. Dell CEO Michael Dell talked about the company's smartphone plans on an earnings conference call in August.

Also see: Dell alleged smartphone move into China: Not as crazy as it sounds

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