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Dell Android smartphone released?

Aug 17, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Dell has released a new Android-based smartphone for the Chinese market, according to some reports. The relatively basic Mini 3i includes a three megapixel camera and Bluetooth, but doesn't offer WiFi or 3G, according to an story by Michelle Maisto.

The Dell smartphone rumored for China has arrived, Maisto suggests, citing a report by the website Cloned in China. The device reportedly made its debut earlier today at a event sponsored by Chinese wireless carrier China Mobile, and is apparently intended to help promote a new online applications store,, scheduled to go live later this week.

Dell's Mini 3i
Source: Cloned in China

Cloned In China offers a few snapshots of the slim smartphone — previously pictured by other sites in much blurrier photos — which is said to feature a 3.5-inch touch screen. According to Slash Gear, whose additional reporting is also cited by Maisto, the Mini 3i has a three megapixel camera and Bluetooth, but doesn't support either WiFi or the Chinese standard WAPI. Other ingredients reportedly include a miniUSB port, volume keys, and a 950mAh battery.

The eWEEK story notes that CEO Michael Dell confirmed in a speech earlier this year that is company is "exploring smaller-screen devices." And in January, The Wall Street Journal ram an article claiming that Dell was about to release a phone, believed at the time to be based on Windows Mobile.

But in March, as Maisto adds, Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu published a research note stating that Dell had put its plans to release a smartphone on the back burner due to a lack of carrier interest. "We hear Dell built prototypes with both Windows and Android operating systems, but the feedback was lack of differentiation versus current and upcoming products from HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola, etc," Wu wrote.

So has Dell recycled one of its rejected prototypes for the Chinese market? Maisto's story suggests that is the case, quoting analyst Roger Kay as saying the company's decision to launch its first smartphone in China could have particular benefits.

"I think it's good to do a geographically isolated launch, so you can see if you've got it right enough before you consider a launch in the United States," Kay is said to have told eWEEK. It gives Dell the chance to "make any potentially embarrassing mistakes out of view" of other markets.

Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies, is said to have added that the Mini 3i's lack of 3G doesn't automatically discount it from being a success. "If it offers something like nicely recoverable communications, in an area where speed is flaky … then that actually might be a good positioning." if it's priced right."

Further information

Maisto's story on the Mini 3i for eWEEK concludes by noting that pricing information for the phone has yet to be made available, and that Dell did not respond to questions for comment. A separate story by, however, quotes Dell representatives as saying the phone is just a "proof of concept" and that "it wasn't officially, formally introduced so much as it was waved around."

To read Michelle Maisto's eWEEK story on the Dell Mini 3i, see the publication's website, here.

To see pictures of the device on Cloned in China, see here and here.

To see's more skeptical report, see here.

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