Dell Gets Serious With Smartphones: Lightning, Smoke, Thunder And More

Dell sure has come a long way. A company that used to make ends meet by selling customizable beige boxes has evolved significantly, now selling some of the world's best gaming notebooks and desktops courtesy of an Alienware acquisition, and also branching out into new markets as the demand for mobile devices rises sharply. The company made some inroads into the corporate market with their Axim PDA line back in the 90s, and now that PDAs have fallen to the wayside while smartphones, MIDs and UMPCs have gained traction, Dell is going with the flow.

The company already announced that they were getting into both the Tablet PC and smartphone markets. The so-called "Streak" 5" tablet will likely be out later this year, while the Dell Aero will be the world's thinnest Android phone when it ships on AT&T in a few months. But having just one phone and one tablet doesn't seem reasonable for a company with as many notebook and desktop options as Dell, does it? Clearly not, as we now know that a whole slew of new phones are currently being developed and designed within Dell's R&D labs.

A spate of leaks over at Engadget have revealed Dell's 2010/2011 phone plans, with a few standouts really making it difficult to jump on any of the otherwise excellent options available today. The Dell Lightning is probably the wildest of the bunch, sporting a 4.1" WVGA display (OLED), Windows Phone 7, support for AT&T/T-Mobile 3G, a MicroSD card slot, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 5MP camera, GPS, a compass, and a Q4 2010 release date. If a Microsoft-based OS isn't you bag, there are a few Android options unearthed as well. The Thunder has a 4.1" OLED display, Android, integrated Hulu app, support for Flash playback and even the possibility of LTE support.

Then there's the Dell Smoke, which will run Android 2.2 and features a 2.8" QVGA display, a QWERTY keyboard, 800MHz Qualcomm processor, 5MP camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 and HSPA 3G support. Following that, the Dell Flash will run the same OS in one of the more stylish form factors that we've seen. It will reportedly boast a "curved glass" chassis, 3G support, Wi-Fi, TV-out support, Bluetooth 3.0 and an 800MHz chip. On the Tablet side, there's the Looking Glass, which will boast Android 2.1 and will use NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chipset.

There's obviously no pricing or release date information available yet, but it's looking like most of these will be out late this year or early 2011. Suffice it to say, Dell is looking to become a huge player in the smartphone space, ready to compete with HTC, Apple, Samsung and loads of others. It's turning out to be quite the months for smartphone news, huh?