It's no secret that Dell
has been spending a few of its research and
development dollars in the mobile department, but until now, we've yet
to actually hear from Texas how close it was to releasing a tangible
product. Accordig to a new report from Barron's, it's close enough to
have shown at least two products to a number of US carriers.
Unfortunately for Dell, it seems the results were less than spectacular.
In fact, we're hearing that Shaw Wu, an analyst at Kaufman Bros., has
stated that Dell was met with little to no acceptance when showing off
its Windows Mobile and Android-based devices. The word he used to
describe the reactions were that its handsets were simply too
"Dell-like." Ouch. It's stated that the prototypes shown were just too
similar to other offerings already on the market, and thus, weren't
particularly enticing for carriers already set up with a flagship
device. In Wu's words: "From our conversation with supply chain and
industry sources, it
appears that it ultimately came down to lack of carrier interest and
small subsidies, making it difficult for Dell to make a profit. In our
view, the last thing Dell needs is to enter another money losing
business as it seeks to preserve its operating margins of 5%-6%.
The most painful bit that seemed to be handed out from everyone that
saw the phones were that they "lacked differentiation," and given that
so many carriers already have a wide array of cellphones from Apple,
HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola, Palm, etc., Dell is going to have to
really produce something awe-inspiring to convince suits that are set
in their ways to pony up for subsidies and marketing. Even though the
reaction has been lukewarm at best, Dell isn't giving up on its dream
to one day compete in the cellphone market. Wu proclaimed that "Dell
remains committed to the cell phone space as it appreciates the
opportunity in smart phones and the longer-term cannibalization
potential of PCs.
The good news here is that Dell is taking the advice seriously and
taking things all the
way back to the drawing board -- purportedly, at
least. In all this proves true, you can probably bank on seeing some
pretty savvy phones from Dell emerging over the next year or two.
Unfortunately, all this rework likely means that we won't see anything
from the company in the near future, but we'd always prefer something
to take longer and be right than to be rushed to market before its