If you're one of the last major technology companies to get into the crowded smartphone market, how do you stake out your territory and compete against the iPhone and the BlackBerry? That's the daunting question facing Dell Inc this summer as it launches its first U.S. smartphone with AT&T Inc – three years after Apple Inc's iPhone and a good decade after Research in Motion's BlackBerry.
Dell's consumer business chief, Stephen Felice, says the new Aero phone is aimed at professionals, especially those who work at the big corporations that contribute the bulk of the Round Rock, Texas-based company's sales. These customers are more interested in scheduling appointments than downloading games, and the special sauce that will make Dell's phones stand out from the crowd will be business software applications that won't be available on rival products, according to Felice. The company knows it is making a trade-off in staying close to its business roots rather than going after the mass consumer market like its rivals.
“We're not out to be a handset leader,” Felice, president of Dell's consumer, small and medium business division, told the Reuters Global Technology Summit this week. “This is clearly one area where we are not sitting here thinking that our goal is to sell the most phones in the market.”
A slew of technology companies from Microsoft Corp to Hewlett-Packard Co is diving into the global smartphone market, as faster wireless services and creative software developers propel the mobile computing trend. Dell will launch two consumer mobile devices: the Aero smartphone, which runs on Google Inc's Android operating system, in the United States this summer, and the Streak tablet PC in Europe next month.