Keeping the iPhone in Mind
10 Things Dell Should Learn from Apple in the Smartphone Market
Dell has finally made its intention of releasing a smartphone to China official. The company announced Monday that it plans to bring smartphones to the Chinese market, although it didn't say when the phone will be released or whether or not it will bring it to the U.S. market.
For now, Dell needs to focus on delivering a user experience that either
rivals or competes closely with Apple's iPhone. Regardless of where it competes
in the world, Dell needs to be constantly aware of how its devices stack up
with the competition.
But before that happens, Dell needs to learn a lesson or two. Although it wants to forget it, Dell has already competed in the mobile space. Its old Dell Axim handhelds were discontinued after Dell realized that the same functionality could be built into a smartphone and, thus, the Axim held no value to the user.
Now the question is whether or not Dell learned from those mistakes. Is it
adequately prepared to take on major competitors in the marketplace? At this
point, it's anyone's guess. But one thing is certain: It needs to watch Apple
and what it has done before it can even think of being a success in the
1. App Store
Dell's smartphone needs a companion app store. The company has no choice but
to create a marketplace for users to add more functionality to their phone.
Apple has over 65,000 available applications. Dell needs to match that number
as quickly as possible.
2. Design Matters
As sexy as Dell's Axim handhelds were, they would look like obsolete beasts
in today's market. Dell needs to take design tips from Apple. Its smartphones
need to be shiny, thin, sport a nice display and have smooth edges. They need
to look like they belong in a user's hand.
3. A Touch-screen Is a Necessity
Although not all companies are jumping feet first into touch-screens, Dell must. At this point, it's practically a requirement in the marketplace. The iPhone, Palm Pre, Android-based phones, and even the BlackBerry Storm have touch-screens. A Dell smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard and no touch-screen will look out of place.
Keeping the iPhone in Mind
4. Don't Forget the Enterprise
Dell's PC business caters to the enterprise. In fact, it's a key partner
with many companies. Its smartphone must appeal to the enterprise market too.
Dell needs tethering support, it needs Exchange, and it needs to have some
enterprise-friendly applications. Without them, Dell would be leaving a key
sector of the market out in the cold.
5. Remember the Extras
Before the iPhone 3G S hit store shelves, the iPhone lacked some of the
basics, like copy and paste and video recording. Dell has to build those
features into its own smartphone from the start. Without them, the Dell
smartphone would be obsolete before it even hits store shelves.
6. Ease of Use Is Key
So many people are happy with their iPhones because it features a high
degree of usability. Sifting through the menus takes no time. The touch-screen
makes using the device quite convenient. Everything is a touch away. Dell's
phone must follow suit.
7. Think Speed
When Apple announced the iPhone 3G S, it made it a point to remind users
that the "S" stands for speed. It sped everything up on the new
iPhone to make it more appealing to users who want to complete tasks as quickly
and efficiently as possible. If the Dell smartphone's response time is slower,
it will be a problem.
8. Remember the User
Apple's success is due to its understanding of who its customers are. Dell
needs to determine who its customers are. Are they consumers looking for
entertainment? Are they professionals looking for productivity? Dell needs to
decide which sector (if not both) it wants to target and provide them with the
necessities they require. Apple did. Look how well it worked for that company.
9. Think Like Apple
Dell also needs to remember Apple when it's building its smartphone. What is
Apple not doing that it can? How can it improve upon the iPhone? Apple is a
master at finding weaknesses in competing products and exploiting them. Dell
should do the same.
10. Remember the Past
Dell failed to maintain the Axim because it didn't see the emerging trend
until it was too late. It can't afford to make that same mistake this time
around. Dell needs to consider the fact that touch-screens are important, an
app store is a necessity, and Apple should be feared.
If it can realize those things, it can put itself in good position to compete in the market.