A little over a month ago some buzz made it onto the Internet regarding the possibility of Dell entering the smartphone market. It was reported in the Business Insider and the AppleInsider. The rumour is that Dell will announce said phone during the Mobile World Congress which started today in Barcalona.
When a person thinks Dell, one thinks "computers" and it's direct to consumer market. It has been rather innovative in this field, including the first, I believe, 'no shipping charges' for its products. It has also had some adventures into the consumer electronics market. It has its own line of printers and flat screen televisions. It has also had some success in the PDA market with the Dell Axim. As you know from reading previous blogs, I am a fan of the Dell Axim, I still own a X3i which I use for both work and home. I use it to quickly surf the web, read email, do spreadsheets for both work and home and take notes while in meetings. In fact it rarely leaves my side or my briefcase. I can't imagine a situation in which I would not bring my Axim, with the exception of the gym.
In fact when Dell was producing the Axim, it received a number of positive reviews; especially in the features it packed into the device for such a reasonable price. It was the first company to offer WI-FI on a PDA for under #300.00US, for example. While the x3 and x30 tended to look boxy, there was some aesthics with the later x50 and x51 models.
Of course detractors will opine about the not lamented jukebox, Dell's foray into personal music device. One person on the appleinsider forum posted this comment:
"This would be a break from the past when Dell's Axim was a line of Windows Mobile-powered Pocket PC personal data assistants, discontinued in April 2007.* Another Dell smaller form factor hardware device, the Dell DJ music player, was shelved in 2006."
With success like that why wouldn't you try the smart phone market?!?!
While being a smartmouth, the question is a good one, does Dell have the moxy and knowledge to enter an already crowded consumer market such as the cellphone market. What about its flops? I can't speak for the Jukebox since I never owned one, but I will speak for the Axim. It is a good product. Why Dell stopped production may have had to do with the convergence of the PDA with the cellphone ( Smartphone), and the belief people don't want to cart around three or four products at once.
Now in other news, Microsoft did announce its new Mobile OS, the Windows Mobile 6.5 at the Conference. Gizmodo seems to have liked it.
Already a number of phones have been launched featuring the new OS, phones such as LG's GM730 for example.
Will Dell go with Microsoft? or go with Google? That is the question, whatever way, it needs to move fast, while the market is growing, it is also becoming crowded. Should Dell use the name 'Axim' or choose something else. Perhaps the way to go would be to direct market it and give the purchaser the freedom to choose their own carriers. This would beat out the iPhone which has tended towards exclusive agreements, such as with ATT or Rogers here in Canada.
I shall be keeping an eye on this one.