Dell, where have you been?! Never mind that…WELCOME BACK!
Some of you may, like myself, have fond memories of Dell’s participation in mobile technology back when they introduced their Axim line of PocketPC’s. I was able to snag an Axim X50v from my good geeky friend Dave Evans that I used for a very long time. It was a fantastic mobile device at an exceptional price at the time. Then Dell went away, leaving us all a bit sad. Most likely Dell didn’t see the profit margins they had been looking for and didn’t at the time want to get into the smartphone game. Well, it looks like all that has changed…in a big way!
Yesterday Engadget posted info on a number of Dell products (links at the bottom) that were leaked to them. While many are still a ways off from launch and may not see the light of day exactly as leaked it does show that Dell is back! Let’s take a look.
Dell Lightning – Windows Phone 7 Portrait Slider
Being a long time Windows Mobile/Phone enthusiast I just have to start with the Dell Lightning. What a fantastic looking phone!! While most sliders are landscape the Lightning is a portrait slider that makes me drool. The screen is 4.1 inches, WVGA using OLED technology and looks to fill almost all of the front of the lightning. In a rather odd move, it looks like storage memory on this phone will be on microSD (possibly non-removable?) rather than built-in memory. As expected, this should come with a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and will be GSM ready for both AT&T and T-Mobile. Engadget states that this will launch in Q4 of this year (woot!) with an LTE version next year.
Dell Aero – Android 1.5 Slate
Wait, what? Android 1.5?! Nothing too exciting here, but it looks like Dell’s initial smartphone for North America will be the Areo for AT&T (Q2 of this year). This looks to be a low end starter phone and will hopefully be very low priced because there isn’t much of a story here. Dell is planning on offering an update to Android 2.1 later this year. Hopefully that doesn’t get delayed like it has with many other manufacturers. The Aero will have a 3.5 inch capacitive screen and it does have a nice look to it. For my money, I would wait for the Lightning above or any of the next three Android phones.
Dell Thunder – Android 2.1 Slate
Think of this as the brother to the Dell Lightning. It will be very similar and should be available at about the same time (Q4 of this year) but will have some notable differences. The Thunder will be an Android device and will not have a physical keyboard but will have the same screen and processor as the Lightning. It will also have built-in Flash support and as well as a Hulu client. Can’t wait to see this phone but by the time it comes out it may seem a bit boring considering all the choices of very similar Android slates. Certainly will be worth a look though.
Dell Smoke – Android 2.x Front-facing Keyboard
I was going to add “of Shmexyness” to that title, but I resisted. The Smoke is really interesting and I truly hope they bring it to market. It is being compared to a Pixi on steroids, and I suppose it is. But while the Palm Pixi is meant to be a low end phone there is nothing “low end” looking about the Smoke. It is a super slim, tall device that strikes a nice balance between large screen and readily available front keyboard. This seems to be targeted at business users and would certainly turn heads in a stuffy boardroom meeting. Beautiful design. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to show up until Q2 of 2011. Man, that’s a long way off!
Dell Flash – Android 2.x Curved Glass Slate
This is a very nice looking phone who’s uniqueness is with its curved glass display. This is really very much a lifestyle type phone that will be a head-turner. It will have a 3.5 WVGA screen and a camera that will probably be very good with features that are not normally seen on a phone such as image stabilization and blink detection. The Flash will be available in Q1 2011 for AT&T.
Dell Streak and Looking Glass – Android Tablets
Dell isn’t limiting itself to just smartphones but also has a couple of tablets coming this year. The Streak is a 5 inch model that will be available this summer and the 7 inch Looking glass in November. Check out the Engadget links for more info.