Pictures and information about Dells long-awaited mobile device have finally surfaced. Rumours about a Dell smartphone have been floating about since 2007. Dell fueled the fire itself this year, with CEO Michael Dell talking about a possible MID or smartphone. One week ago, TechCrunch broke the rumour that we might see a Chinese launch within days. Sure enough, 7 days later we’ve got a Dell phone in China – and much to everyone’s disappointment it seems to be a 2G device.
What do we know about the device?
Not a tremendous amount. Neither Dell nor China Mobile has announced the device. The information has come from Chinese news site 163 – and the details we’ve gotten in the west have mainly been from running this site through translation services. But here’s the skinny on the device so far:
The device is called the Dell Mini 3i.
This is not a 3G device and it has no WiFi capabilities. It only supports 2G connections and Bluetooth.
It runs on a version of the Android OS developed by China Mobile, called OMS.
It has a 3.5 inch touchscreen, with a USB port and a mini SD card slot.
Mobile Market and Dell China
But while Dell and China Mobile have been quiet on the subject of the Mini 3i, they have had other things to announce. Today marks the launch of Mobile Market – China Mobiles mobile app and content site. We covered the launch of the site in preview form at the start of July, which will give its Chinese subscribers access to apps, music, games and other content. Since it’s an operator portal, it can offer downloads to any of the devices running on its network, including Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson devices. However, both Dell China and China Mobile spokespeople today announced that the Mini 3i would also be catered to on this service – and also that Dell would be working with China Mobile to develop further devices for the Chinese market. According to CNNMoney.com, the spokespeople refused to give any further details on either the 3i or the Dell/China Mobile deal.
What we think?
Researching this story was like an emotional roller-coaster. I’ll openly admit I find the Mini 3i itself a bit disappointing – but I also think that the device is the tip of the iceberg. It represents massive things going on behind the scenes, and I find these things very exciting. The Mini 3i isn’t just a Dell device. It’s also a new Android device, launched in the largest mobile market in the world. It’s also the very first result from what will be an on-going partnership between Dell and China Mobile. It’s also a mid-range phone with smartphone capabilities. By which I mean that while it may not have 3G or WiFi capabilites, it does have an OS, a full-touchscreen and mobile applications.
So while this is definitely a mobile launch from Dell, I wouldn’t say this the mobile launch from Dell. Not the one we’ve been waiting for, anyway. If Dell doesn’t have a pretty awesome smartphone waiting in the wings to follow this spate of announcements, then that’s a pretty bone-head play.