Dell today confirmed plans to enter the smart phone business and announced partnerships with two of the world's largest mobile operators.
Dell plans to distribute its new Mini 3 smart phones through China Mobile, the largest telecommunications company in the world with more than 500 million customers, and Claro, which serves more than 42 million people in Brazil as part of the America Movil network.
Friday's announcement ends more than two years of speculation that Dell, now the world's third-largest PC company by unit shipments, would expand into the phone business.
Earlier this year Dell was the first mobile PC manufacturer to embed China Mobile?s 3G technology and services into its netbooks and quickly became the leading seller of netbooks through retail outlets in China. In addition Dell has existing agreements with other leading global telecom providers, including Vodafone in Europe; Australia/New Zealand, AT&T and Verizon in the U.S.; M1 and Starhub in Singapore; and Maxis in Malaysia, creating more opportunities to meet the needs of a connected lifestyle.
"Our entry into the smart phone category is a logical extension of Dell's consumer product evolution over the past two years," said Ron Garriques, President, Dell Global Consumer Group. "We are developing smaller and smarter mobile products that enable our customers to take their internet experience out of the home and do the things they want to do whenever and wherever they want."
The initial keyboardless touch-screen Mini 3 smart phones are designed around the Android platform, Dell said.
The company didn't release technical specifications for the Mini 3, but it is expected to sport a three-and-a-half-inch high-definition screen and speakers for listening to music or watching movies without headphones.
Like the first legitimate iPhones in China, the first Mini 3s won't have Wi-Fi because of an earlier government ban on the technology.
Dell's Mini 3 smart phones will be available in stores in late November for China Mobile and year?s end for Claro.
Papers filed by Dell with the Federal Communications Commission indicate the company is also laying groundwork to launch the phone in the U.S..