Dell Tries To Wedge Its Way Into the Smartphone Space - InformationWeek

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8/25/2010
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Dell Tries To Wedge Its Way Into the Smartphone Space

Late to the party. That may be an appropriate way to characterize Dell's push into the smartphone market. However, the company has some strong traits that may make its products a viable option for small and medium businesses.

Late to the party. That may be an appropriate way to characterize Dell's push into the smartphone market. However, the company has some strong traits that may make its products a viable option for small and medium businesses.Dell announced its Aero, a low cost, Android smartphone that runs on AT&T's network. The vendor is banking on the device's small form factor and its integration with various consumer applications, such as Flickr and Picasa photo-sharing sites, YouTube, and Facebook, to gain traction in the hotly contested smartphone marketplace. The phone, which weighs less than four ounces, features a 3.5-inch, 640 x 360 pixels display, and a 5-megapixel camera.

Aware that it is behind competitors in the mobile device marketplace, Dell has focused its efforts on international markets. The Aero has been available in China and Brazil since the end of 2009. The vendor took the same approach with its tablet system, which also debuted in the US earlier this month.

Dell has lot of ground to make up. Competitors have been shipping such products for more than a decade and Apple has gained significant mindshare with its iPhone. In addition, Dell may also find it difficult to differentiate its Android system from those from companies, such as HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. In fact, the Aero is based on Android 1.5 operating system, a few releases behind its most recent iteration.

The vendor does have some potential strengths that it may try to leverage to convince small and medium business to buy its mobile devices. Traditionally, the company has been able to deliver low cost, easy to install and simple to maintain products. In addition, corporations are starting to view mobile devices as alternatives to desktop or laptop systems. Dell has more experience in this area than companies, such as Motorola and Research in Motion. So even though Dell is behind competitors in the mobile device space, the company has the potential to emerge as a major supplier among small and medium businesses.

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