10 Things Dell Should Learn from Apple in the Smartphone Market

News Analysis: Dell is planning to bring a smartphone to Chinese shores in the coming months. But before it does, it might have a few things it will need to learn from the market's leader, the Apple iPhone. If Dell fails to learn those lessons, it's highly possible that its new smartphone venture will be as short-lived as its abortive Axim handheld computer.

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 smartphone market.
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.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...