Computer maker Dell has long been toying with the idea of entering the smartphone business, and today the company officially confirmed it plans to launch its much-rumored Dell Mini 3 smartphone in Brazil and China, with additional markets to follow. However, Dell it being tight-lipped about the phone’s features, specifications, and pricing: Dell is only confirming that the Mini 3 runs Google’s Android mobile operating system, and will launch in Brazil on the mobile operator Claro, and in China on China Mobile.
“Our entry into the smart phone category is a logical extension of Dell’s consumer product evolution over the past two years,” said Dell Global Consumer Group president Ron Garriques, in a statement. “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.”
Dell characterizes the Mini 3 smartphone as an “initial” offering, implying more handsets are in the works. Dell also has agreements to bring the Mini 3 to other markets including Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia…as well as the United States through Verizon.
Reports have the Mini 3 packing a capacitive stylus in the Chinese market, but (like the Chinese version of the iPhone) lacking 3G connectivity. The Brazilian version apparently lacks a stylus, but does include 3G support.
The Mini 3 marks Dell’s first effort to produce a mobile phone, and while some industry watchers are welcoming another major player in the increasingly-crowded smartphone market, others note that Dell’s history with portable consumer electronics devices is less-than-stellar, and the company is already late to the game after taking two years to craft its device—earlier reports had mobile carriers distinctively non-plussed with Dell’s initial phone efforts. However, by focusing initially on international markets, Dell may be able to build a solid business base for its phones before trying to take on the smartphone heavyweights on their home turf.