Mobile
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4/15/2009
06:42 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Dell In Rumored Talks With China Mobile

Dell is rumored to be in talks with China Mobile according to this article. It has been reported that Dell would be getting into the mobile phone business but those rumors generally focused on a North America plan. They may be headed to China instead, and have their first phone ready to go before 2009 is over.

Dell is rumored to be in talks with China Mobile according to this article. It has been reported that Dell would be getting into the mobile phone business but those rumors generally focused on a North America plan. They may be headed to China instead, and have their first phone ready to go before 2009 is over.Some of you may remember China Mobile from a few years ago. After Palm sold off PalmSource to Access, PalmSource created a new OS based on Linux, but that OS never came to North America. China One now seems focused on a system that uses Google's Android as a foundation, but China Mobile replaces many of the apps with their own design.

My question is, does Dell understand enough about the Chinese mobile user to design hardware that will stand out? There are a dizzying array of models sold in Asia, many of which I'd consider more of very feature rich feature phones rather than a smartphone. (See this article where I distinguish between the two.) The Asian market is also unusual in that a stylus is the norm there. Touch-screens meant to be used by fingers are too cumbersome for the input of Chinese characters. A stylus allows easier data entry.

Motorola and Nokia currently have about 90% of the market, with RIM and Apple nowhere to be seen. The big operating systems there are Symbian S60, Linux and Windows Mobile. That means a Dell and China Mobile partnership on this device would throw Android into the mix.

If true, this means Dell is definitely working with hardware that will support Android. If they reinvigorate their efforts for a North American phone, they may well stick to Android rather than Windows Mobile, a platform they have had extensive experience with during their Axim PDA days.

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