A Dell Google-Android Smartphone in China This Year?
Dell is planning to enter the smartphone market in China
by the end of 2009, Reuters is reporting, citing two unnamed analysts.
The analysts confirmed that Dell is working on handsets with Chi Mei Communications, an arm of Hon Hai, an electronics giant in Taiwan, and also that software maker Red Office is designing operating systems for the phones.
Reuters further reported that the analysts said the rollout would occur in China, followed by the United States and Europe.
A research note from Goldman Sachs said Dell "is likely to launch its first Android smartphone in 2Q09."
On March 23, eWEEK reported that Kaufman Brothers' analyst Shaw Wu wrote to investors that Dell built smartphone prototypes with both the Microsoft Windows and Google Android operating systems, but that the phones failed to interest U.S. carriers.
"The feedback was lack of differentiation versus current upcoming products from HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola, etc.," wrote Wu, who went on to include the soon-to-arrive Palm Pre among the impediments to Dell's potential smartphone success.
On March 25, speaking in Tokyo, Michael Dell confirmed for the first time that his company was exploring "smaller-screen devices."
Dell told reporters that day, "We already have agreements with mobile carriers around netbook devices, so it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect that we would have smaller mobile Internet devices or smartphones in the future."
The Google Android mobile operating system that Dell is said to be deploying is open-source and growing in popularity, both on smartphones and other mobile devices such as netbooks and tablet PCs.
Samsung has three Android-based phones scheduled for 2009, and HTC and Kyocera also have several planned.
Chinese media outlets are reporting that Dell is looking to work with China Mobile to distribute the handsets, though China Mobile has not confirmed this.
Dell, when contacted, offered no comment.