Smartphones are rapidly becoming the new PCs (see: Smartphones as the New PCs; Connecting to Healthcare Professionals and Consumers). This trend is now accelerating, if the rumor mill is correct that Dell, historically one of the major PC manufacturers, may bring a version of the Android smartphone to market with AT&T (see: Dell May Bring Android Smartphones To AT&T). Below is an excerpt from this article:
The lines between smartphones and laptops are increasingly blurring as hardware and mobile data networks rapidly improve, analyst says. Dell may be successful in its foray into the U.S. smartphone market if it manages expectations, but it may have difficulties standing out from the crowd, according to an industry analyst. The computer maker is reportedly close to announcing a deal to bring Android-powered smartphones to AT&T. This comes after years of speculation that it would enter the mobile space, and a few months after it unveiled Android-powered smartphones for China Mobile. AT&T and Dell have not confirmed the report....Computer makers such as Acer have already taken the smartphone plunge, while Nokia, the world's leading handset maker, recently introduced a 3G netbook....[An analyst] said Dell's first handset will not outsell Apple's
iPhone, but could potentially match the sales of the Palm Pre, which analysts estimate has sold more than 700,000 units since its summer release. The first Dell smartphone will reportedly be an upgraded version of the Mini 3i smartphone that will hit China soon. It features a large touchscreen with an iPhone-like user interface....The computer maker has a recognized brand name and strong direct-to-consumer sales channels that may woo mid-tier smartphone buyers.... It also should not be difficult for Dell to create or outsource the design of an attractive Android-based handset. Additionally, Dell may not want to compete against the BlackBerry in the corporate realm because Android is not yet enterprise-friendly, although that is expected to change with future software updates.
The interest on the part of Dell in the smartphone market is additional evidence that these devices are rapidly becoming the new PCs. Partnering with Google, the developer of the Android smartphone operating system, also makes sense. I am not surprised at the statement above that "Android is not yet enterprise-friendly." The Google approach to software has always been to release early versions and then improve it based on the input from users and experience in the field. Probably only Google could get away with such a strategy because of its strong relationship with the user-community and the fact that most Google products have generally been free. Dell's well known strength is its understanding of the needs of corporate users and, as noted above, its target of mid-tier buyers. This is in sharp contrast to Apple and its