Reports: Dell To Re-Enter Smartphone Business - InformationWeek

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3/19/2008
09:17 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Reports: Dell To Re-Enter Smartphone Business

Rather than an Android phone, which was reportedly in the works back in January, this time sources at Foxconn Electronics in Taiwan indicate that Dell is set to resume making Windows Mobile-based handheld devices. Did Asus' recent purchase of smartphone maker E-Ten have anything to do with it, or is Dell finally getting its mobile act together?

Rather than an Android phone, which was reportedly in the works back in January, this time sources at Foxconn Electronics in Taiwan indicate that Dell is set to resume making Windows Mobile-based handheld devices. Did Asus' recent purchase of smartphone maker E-Ten have anything to do with it, or is Dell finally getting its mobile act together?It's been well over a year now since Dell hired former Motorola VP Ron Garriques. Garriques was brought on board to run a new consumer electronics devision within Dell. Given that it takes 12 to 18 months to bring a mobile phone to market, we're right on track for Dell to finally start announcing some products.

This corresponds well with new reports coming from the Taiwanese manufacturing industry. Hon Hai Precision Industry property Foxconn Electronics has reportedly been hiring top talent in anticipation of receiving manufacturing orders from Dell. Foxconn already is a key player in Dell's computer-making business. The orders will include handheld devices such as smartphones, PDAs, and GPS equipment.

Yet more sources indicate that Dell has kick-started its efforts in the wake of competitor Asus' recent acquisition of Taiwan-based E-Ten, a manufacturer of Windows Mobile smartphones. Whether or not that's the case, Dell needs to patch this hole in its line-up. Though HP's revamped Windows Mobile devices have yet to make any sort of impact in the market, at least they're there. With new smartphones hitting the market in recent months from many of Dell's competitors, Dell is in danger of losing relevance in this market altogether. Too bad that Dell recently passed on the idea of buying into the market by not acquiring Motorola's handset division.

The one shame is that it appears that partnering with the Open Handset Alliance and crafting an Android-based smartphone is off the table for now. Depending on what Dell's real strategy concerning the smartphone market truly is, let's hope it revisits this decision in the months to come.

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