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Dell tips U.S.-bound phone as Android projected to outshine iPhone

Oct 8, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Dell is planning to launch an Android phone in the U.S. next year with AT&T, and a Kyocera Android phone is also in the offing, say two industry reports. Gartner, meanwhile, is projecting that Android will overtake the iPhone as the number two smartphone vendor by 2012, says a third report.

After numerous rumors about a Dell smartphone running Android, including a March report that Dell had decided to shelve its initial Android prototype in favor of a more robust design, a Dell "Mini 3i" Android phone (shown below) was demonstrated as a "proof of concept" in China this August.

Dell's Mini 3i
Source: Cloned in China

Shown at an event sponsored by wireless carrier China Mobile, the Mini 3i appeared to have relatively modest features compared to leading smartphones. Although the Mini 3i was said to offer a 3.5-inch touchscreen, it lacked WiFi, and the camera was limited to 3-megapixel resolution. The phone does not yet appear to be available in China.

Now, the Wall Street Journal is claiming that Dell has signed a deal with AT&T to carry a modified version of the phone sometime next year. Dell is also pursuing deals with other carriers, says the story.

With Verizon Wireless signing on to offer two Android phones later this year, AT&T becomes the fourth and last major U.S. carrier to reveal plans to offer an Android phone. Sprint, which has been the main force behind the Linux-based Palm Pre so far, will soon carry the Android-based HTC Hero, and yesterday the carrier announced a Samsung Android phone called the Samsung Moment.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, after announcing a Samsung Behold II phone, now offers or will soon provide four Android models. Actually five, if you count the "Fender Limited Edition" version of the HTC-manufactured, Android-based MyTouch 3G phone, announced by the carrier this week. According to our sister site, eWEEK, the phone will feature a guitar-inspired wood-grain finish, a 16GB microSD card, a 3.5mm headset jack, as well as video and audio clips by "iconic musicians."

AT&T bound: Garmin Nuvifone G60

The Dell Mini 3i would be Dell's first entry into the U.S. cellphone market, but it would count as AT&T's second Linux-based smartphone. Known for its success with the iPhone, AT&T recently began selling the navigation-oriented Nuvifone G60 (pictured above) from GarminAsus, a partnership between Garmin and Asustek. An Android version of the Linux-based phone is also expected to arrive next year, according to GarminAsus.

Android number two by 2012?

Android dominated the smartphone news at this week's CTIA show, despite the best efforts of competing platforms. Even Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5, which premiered this week on phones such as an impressive-looking HTC HD2 entry, was upstaged somewhat by the rumor that an Android version of the phone called the HTC Dragon was also in the works.

Android fever is reflected in a new report from Gartner that projects that the Google-sponsored, open source platform will outpace the iPhone for the number two smartphone platform by 2012, according to a Matt Hamblin story in ComputerWorld. Gartner projects the platform growing from only two percent of global smartphone sales this year to 14 percent in 2012, representing a total of nearly 76 million units sold, says the story.

This would place Android ahead of all platforms, save Symbian, which Gartner expects to fall from about half of all smartphones sold to a still dominant 39 percent share in 2012. By the end of next year, says the story, Gartner expects that as many as 40 Android models will have shipped.

The Apple iPhone will drop to third place in 2012, at 13.7 percent share, according to Gartner, and contrary to some other gloomy projections about Windows Mobile, the research firm sees Microsoft holding steady in fourth place with 12.8 percent of the market that year. Instead it is Research in Motion's BlackBerry that will fall the hardest, says Gartner, dropping from second to fifth place, with 12.5 percent.

Linux phones in 2012: Five percent or 21?

Not counting Android, which builds upon a Linux kernel, other Linux-based smartphones will sell 28 million units, for a 5.4 percent share, projects Gartner. Although not detailed in the ComputerWorld story, most of these devices will presumably run a version of the LiMo specification, as does the new Samsung-built 360 H1 offered by Vodafone in Europe. However, Gartner is also likely including cross-over phones such as the Maemo-Linux based Nokia N900, as well as the Nuvifone G60 and future smartphones that may run a handheld version of the Moblin stack.

Gartner breaks out Palm's Linux-based WebOS, offered on the Palm Pre, as a separate category, and projects the platform to sell 11 million units in 2012, or about 2.1 percent. Even if you fold WebOS in with the other Linux phones for a total 7.5 percent share, however, Linux would still hold steady at sixth place, according to the study. (On the other hand, if you include Android phones in the mix, the projected Linux total would be 21.5 percent.)

Motorola Cliq, showing MotoBlur interface

According to Hamblin, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney pointed to Motorola's MotoBlur social networking UI and cloud service (seen above), available on its T-Mobile-destined Cliq phone, as an example of how Android can best compete with the likes of the iPhone.

Earlier this year, around the same time that Gartner released a study noting Android's fast rise (but without specifying numbers), another research firm, Informa Telecoms & Media, also projected that Android would surpass the iPhone in 2012.

Kyocera jumps on Droid wagon

Finally, according to CNET, Kyocera announced at CTIA that it would launch an Android phone next year. No more details were offered on the phone by the venerable Japanese firm, which typically sells "low to midtier handsets for minor carriers," according to the story.


The Wall Street Journal story on Dell's Android plans should be here.

The eWEEK story on the new Fender version of the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G may be found here.

The ComputerWorld story on the Gartner smartphone study may be found here.

The CNET item on the Kyocera Android phone should be here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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